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Froome defends Dauphiné title, Wiggins heads to Switzerland; Brailsford insists Tour squad not yet decided

Sir Bradley Wiggins has been left out of Team Sky’s squad for the Critérium du Dauphiné, where Chris Froome will defend the title he won last year, fuelling speculation that Wiggins will not make its line-up for the Tour de France which starts in Leeds on 5 July.

Instead Wiggins, who has said he would be prepared to play a supporting role to defending champion Froome in the Tour de France, will lead Team Sky at the Tour de Suissse, which overlaps with the Critérium du Dauphiné.

His absence from the squad from the latter race and from recent training camps and reconnaissance trips for key Tour de France stages is likely to result in speculation that the man who in 2012 became the first British winner of the race will not be riding this year’s edition.

Froome in Tenerife, Wiggins in Mallorca

Last month, while Froome was taking part in a high altitude training camp on Tenerife, Wiggins headed to Mallorca to train after winning the Tour of California.

At the weekend, he was missing when Froome and other Sky riders took a look at the Yorkshire stages, and was also absent yesterday for a reconnaissance of the cobbled sections of Stage 5 of the race.

The pair have not raced together for Team Sky for nearly 18 months, the last time being when Wiggins helped Froome win the Tour of Oman in early 2013.

Froome revealed at the weekend that he has not seen Wiggins since a training camp on Mallorca at the start of this year, and also said that he saw his close friend Richie Porte as a more suitable “Plan B” at the Tour de France.

Froome's Tour four to Dauphiné

The Sky team for the Critérium du Dauphiné, which begins on Sunday, includes four of the riders who helped Froome to his Tour de France victory last year: Porte, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez and Geraint Thomas.

They are joined by Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate and Xabier Zandio, and if the past two seasons are a guide, the Dauphiné squad will form the nucleus of the one for the Tour.

That may mean there is only one space left for the three-week race, and besides Wiggins, riders such as Luke Rowe, Joe Dombrowski, Christian Knees or Peter Kennaugh, who rode his first Tour last year, have strong claims to be included.

Brailsford: both races part of Tour selection

Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford insisted that riders racing at both the Dauphiné and in Switzerland would be considered for inclusion in the Tour de France squad.

He said: “Both the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse are WorldTour events and we are looking to perform in both races.

“Chris will be going for GC at the Dauphiné and Bradley is going for GC at the Tour de Suisse.

“Bradley heads to Switzerland with a strong team after a great win in California and we’ve got the right group for the Dauphiné, especially considering the nature of the course.

“Both of these races will form part of our selection for the Tour. We have to name 13 riders in a long list during June and we’ll do that from across the squad, including riders at the Route du Sud, not only those in the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse groups.”

Boardman: Wiggins is performing in mountains

Chris Boardman, who worked alongside Brailsford as head of R&D at British Cycling, believes Wiggins is worth a place on the Tour de France team due to his performances this year.

Quoted in The Times [£], he said: “Knowing Dave he’ll do the best thing for performance and deal with all the politics. Just to be in the top ten [of Paris-Roubaix] says ‘I could’ve won this race’. That was pretty damn cool.

“He’s performing in the mountains at the moment, so I think he’ll get on the team.”

Boardman did point out though that by making Wiggins leader at the Tour de Suisse rather than riding for Froome at the Dauphiné, Sky were missing an opportunity to prepare for the summer’s main event.

“They’re not practising it,” he explained. “It’s dress rehearsal on opening night if you’re not careful. You’re going to find out if someone can do a whole new role. That’s the big unknown.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

45 comments

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Leodis [403 posts] 1 year ago
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Yet more two bit media speculation.

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schocca [4 posts] 1 year ago
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BBC Radio 2 - 7:45AMish this morning - Chris Froome was on a radio interview - He was directly asked if Brad was definitely not in contention for the TdF as he was not part of the CduD team.

Chris replied clearly that this was NOT the case and that the final team slots have not been filled.

So, the public TeamSky view is that it's all up for grabs.

- Well, that's changed my TV for the month of June... Porte and Brad both need to perform...

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dafyddp [347 posts] 1 year ago
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This reflects the importance Sky must place on inter-personal dynamics. Looking purely at the results, then surely winning ToC and pulling a Paris Roubaix top 10 would have guaranteed Wiggo a place. I like the fact that Brailsford is demanding Wiggins demonstrates his commitment first hand, and respectable Tour of Switzerland result is essential.

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tomturcan [65 posts] 1 year ago
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One wonders what the rest of the team are thinking.

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DrJDog [327 posts] 1 year ago
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I'd be amazed if Murdoch didn't step in (if he hasn't already) and insist on a Froome/Wiggins pair up for the Tour. He's paying the bills, and that lineup would create the big headlines.

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RobD [287 posts] 1 year ago
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Sky really do look to have some great strength in depth, it must be a nice situation for them to have to choose between so many riders who are in form.
If they end up with a Froome, Wiggins, Porte, Thomas + Knees, Kennaugh or some of the other available riders as the core for the squad that could be a tough team to beat (assuming they can all get along nicely)

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brackley88 [143 posts] 1 year ago
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Can't tell you how I know this but here's why:

1) they can potentially win both Suisse and dauphine bringing important wins and coverage for sponsors in what has not been a strong year to date. Not a bad year, but could be better.

2) they avoid pre tour micro analysis in the media of how froome and wiggo work together. They get a different type of analysis but kit as bad.

3) they avoid the risk of something unexpected happening that causes tension in the team. They can manage it at the tour but don't need something brewing from now.

There you go...

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brackley88 [143 posts] 1 year ago
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Can't tell you how I know this but here's why:

1) they can potentially win both Suisse and dauphine bringing important wins and coverage for sponsors in what has not been a strong year to date. Not a bad year, but could be better.

2) they avoid pre tour micro analysis in the media of how froome and wiggo work together. They get a different type of analysis but kit as bad.

3) they avoid the risk of something unexpected happening that causes tension in the team. They can manage it at the tour but don't need something brewing from now.

There you go...

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mickcee [67 posts] 1 year ago
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This Tour with it having an English start needs Sir Brad, well that my opinion. I for one am heading to Yorkshire with my family hoping to see our British riders like Brad, Cav, Thomas and Froome as well as stars from around the world.

I just hope I'm not disappointed!

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adamtaylor [61 posts] 1 year ago
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As a Wiggo fan and someone heading up to Yorkshire, I'm really hoping he makes the final selection.

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Must be Mad [506 posts] 1 year ago
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Brackley88 - sounds logical to me.

If Wiggo was not to lead the team in the Suisse - who would they have gone for?

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Simon E [2652 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm inclined to go with brackley88's view.

There is already too much speculation and extrapolation by the armchair experts. Surely those on the inside will have a better idea than us what's needed - they know all the riders very well by now and will set out what needs to be done. If they make an error of judgement (and we all do) or hindsight tells them something new then so be it.

Brad responds well to being given specific goals and he's surely capable of winning the TdS. And why wouldn't Sky want to try to win both races? It's not been a great season so far for them.

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Simon_MacMichael [2448 posts] 1 year ago
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Given the history between the two riders, and Sky's emphasis on controlling the controllables, I think it's perfectly valid to speculate on the implications of the announcement of the Swiss and Dauphine teams.

The facts as we know them are that Wiggins and Froome aren't close (putting it mildly), they haven't spoken since January (which is also the last time they were together), let alone trained in the same place at the same time since then.

Wiggins hasn't been involved in any of the pre-Tour recces, and you'd imagine if he were central to their plans he would have a key role to play supporting Froome on the two tough stages in the opening week they've looked at - Stage 2, and the cobbled Stage 5.

Moreover, by the time the Tour starts, they won't have raced together for a year and a half.

Would Sky go into the biggest race of the year without ensuring at least some of that had happened, and the pair could actually work together to achieve the team's goal, which is a third overal victory? I doubt it.

I'd be happy to be proved wrong, but I don't think any of the information we have at the moment points to Wiggins figuring in the plans for the Tour.

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BradleyNiggins [7 posts] 1 year ago
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If Wiggins makes the team i wonder how he would go over the cobbles. He was heavier at Paris Roubaix and he's dropped a fair bit of weight to deal with the mountain stages in the ToC.

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chrisb87 [70 posts] 1 year ago
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DrJDog wrote:

I'd be amazed if Murdoch didn't step in (if he hasn't already) and insist on a Froome/Wiggins pair up for the Tour. He's paying the bills, and that lineup would create the big headlines.

Exactly what I've been thinking

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chrisb87 [70 posts] 1 year ago
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Froome, Porte, Wiggins podium....

Ha ha just joking!

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Leodis [403 posts] 1 year ago
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It would be really daft to drop Wiggins, if owt happened to Froome there would be no natural experienced leader for la Tour, anyway who would leave the worlds best TT'er in the sidelines?

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Simmo72 [597 posts] 1 year ago
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If brad ain't there, I'm binning my sky box and going to virgin media. Course he will, this is just Murdoch stirring up a story, great headlines.

I want froome to lose 5 minutes in the opening stages, with Wiggo on fire in the time trials and froome clawing back in the mountains, with contador causing all manners of chaos. It has the makings of a great race, which despite the british wins, the tour has been rather dull for a number of years
"strong team ride up mountain, don't allow break, leader attacks in the last km and repeat for every mountain stage"
tres effective but zzzzzzzz"

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dafyddp [347 posts] 1 year ago
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@Simmo72 - I agree. As much as I enjoy watching cycling, it often gives cricket a good run for it's money on the not-much-happening front for the first 150km or so. We might not like the idea, but sub-plots of personal rivalries, drug cheating and corruption have ran side-by-side with the on-road action since the sport began  3

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Leodis [403 posts] 1 year ago
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Yep that final stage Giro was really dull....

Its about winning not entertaining nodders.

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NeilG83 [285 posts] 1 year ago
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There are lots of reasons why Wiggins should be in the team:
1. His current good form. Which might make him a more obvious plan B than Porte.
2. A British grand depart, which creates pressure from sponsors, the media and the public to include him.
3.His strength over the cobbles.

However, it his inclusion may be more trouble than it's worth, especially with the constant media questions that will arise. If the Tour didn't start in the UK this year & there were no cobbles he probably wouldn't make the team especially due to the lack of time trials in the race.

What if Wiggins gains 2 or 3 minutes on Froome in the cobbled stage. Who do Sky back then?

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brackley88 [143 posts] 1 year ago
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Can't tell you how I know this but here's why:

1) they can potentially win both Suisse and dauphine bringing important wins and coverage for sponsors in what has not been a strong year to date. Not a bad year, but could be better.

2) they avoid pre tour micro analysis in the media of how froome and wiggo work together. They get a different type of analysis but kit as bad.

3) they avoid the risk of something unexpected happening that causes tension in the team. They can manage it at the tour but don't need something brewing from now.

There you go...

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Syahmi Naim [5 posts] 1 year ago
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Whatever the case it should be a cracking Tour and one wonders how Froome will react when the pressure is really on. Porte has not raced much this year - good or bad depending on your view of doing the hard miles - and is not a real Team Captain as Rogers was when Wiggins won the Tour. Am inclined to think that the usual suspects are lining up for Froome and not having Wiggins bossing the peloton will create issues for Sky. Froome has all the personality of an accountant - I am an accountant !! - can't see Contador or Nibali saying "please carry on Mr Froome" - Alberto has a score to settle and what better way than in a TdF starting in the UK where the top UK rider may not even be participating. Sorry for all his palmares Froome flies a flag of convenience that means he will never win the hearts and minds game that is so conveniently pinned on Wiggins or Cavendish. The next generation of riders in Sky are all bonafide UK riders and would love to see Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas, and Pete Kennaugh in there - all got balls and will ride themselves into the ground for the team.

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Nevis the cat [24 posts] 1 year ago
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Sponsors require media time

The cycling is an aside.

You're Murdoch

You've put $$$ of Aussie dollars into Sky

You have a two British tour winners on your books, one of which is probably the most famous cyclist and a major celebrity, in the UK.

The Tour starts and runs for three days, in the UK - one of your largest markets

You don't need an MBA to figure it out.

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Yennings [237 posts] 1 year ago
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If Froome does a Schleck and breaks his collarbone on the cobbled stage, which is entirely possible for a rider who weighs less than certain species of stick insect, they will need a decent plan B. Wiggins is undoubtedly the closest they have given recent form and Porte's lack of match fitness. It would be folly not to take him along, irrespective of his previous with Froome. I think they are just keeping them separated as much as possible beforehand to minimise friction and maximise the chance of winning both the Dauphine and Tour de Suisse in the run-up to the Tour.

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MinardiM189 [68 posts] 1 year ago
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It would have been extremely embarrassing for Sky to make Wiggins drop back to allow Froome to win in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

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seanboy [23 posts] 1 year ago
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why can you not tell us how you know? do you work for mi5?

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giobox [355 posts] 1 year ago
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brackley88 wrote:

Can't tell you how I know this but here's why:

1) they can potentially win both Suisse and dauphine bringing important wins and coverage for sponsors in what has not been a strong year to date. Not a bad year, but could be better.

2) they avoid pre tour micro analysis in the media of how froome and wiggo work together. They get a different type of analysis but kit as bad.

3) they avoid the risk of something unexpected happening that causes tension in the team. They can manage it at the tour but don't need something brewing from now.

There you go...

Exactly. This headline, and the similar one VeloNews ran yesterday, is just silly season stuff. I don't think Bradley and Froome have ever ridden as team mates at the dauphine or the tour de suisse, certainly not in 2012 or 2013.

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Simon_MacMichael [2448 posts] 1 year ago
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giobox wrote:

Exactly. This headline, and the similar one VeloNews ran yesterday, is just silly season stuff. I don't think Bradley and Froome have ever ridden as team mates at the dauphine or the tour de suisse, certainly not in 2012 or 2013.

Froome helped Wiggins win both Romandie and the Dauphine in 2012 (and then the Tour de France).

The only time Wiggins has ridden in support of Froome in a Sky jersey is at last year's Tour of Oman.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 1 year ago
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I'll be surprised and disappointed if they aren't both there. Not just for the 'narrative' (though as a sideshow the clash of personalities is fun) but also because I like Wiggins and it'd be a shame not to see him here in his home race. That, and he's a hell of a super domestique to have working for you.

Even if Wiggins gains time on the cobbles - or is permitted to ride for the win that day? - the only way that Sky will not be riding for Froome is if he gets sick/injured and has to drop out. Wiggins could not compete with Contador, Nibali or even Valverde on the proper hills.

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