Does Bradley Wiggins’ Dauphiné omission mean no Tour de France place?

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

by Simon_MacMichael   June 3, 2014  

2013 Tour of Oman Stage 5 Wiggins looking after Froome (© Lloyd Images:Muscat Muncipality)

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.”

42 user comments

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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.

BradleyNiggins's picture

posted by BradleyNiggins [6 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 13:43

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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

posted by chrisb87 [66 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 13:46

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Froome, Porte, Wiggins podium....

Ha ha just joking!

posted by chrisb87 [66 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 13:50

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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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posted by Leodis [196 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:14

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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"

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [296 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:18

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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 Wink

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posted by dafyddp [148 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:32

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Yep that final stage Giro was really dull....

Its about winning not entertaining nodders.

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posted by Leodis [196 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:39

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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?

posted by NeilG83 [239 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:42

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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.

posted by Syahmi Naim [5 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 16:49

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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.

posted by Nevis the cat [14 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 16:58

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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.

posted by Yennings [211 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 17:48

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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.

posted by MinardiM189 [30 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 18:37

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why can you not tell us how you know? do you work for mi5?

posted by seanboy [23 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 19:13

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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.

posted by giobox [278 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 19:58

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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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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8036 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 20:22

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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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posted by Ghedebrav [1091 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 21:09

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I think Bradley Wiggins would be a valuable team member in the role of road captain given his experience.

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posted by Him Up North [189 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 22:50

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I want my MBA !!

posted by Syahmi Naim [5 posts]
4th June 2014 - 6:53

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MinardiM189 wrote:
It would have been extremely embarrassing for Sky to make Wiggins drop back to allow Froome to win in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

I agree. Wiggins doesn't need to be a domestique in two races. By doing the Tour de Suisse he can get some valuable racing in for when he takes over from Froome Laughing .

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posted by stenmeister [53 posts]
4th June 2014 - 9:08

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The two have huge egos but Froome is a petulant child too. I'm certain that he will have made it clear that he has no intention of having Wiggins in his team. Don't be surprised if Bradley picks up an injury just before the TdF line-up is revealed.

posted by Beaufort [149 posts]
4th June 2014 - 9:14

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The more I think about it, the more absurd leaving Wiggins on the bench sounds... Therefore I share thoughts that this is;

- an opportunity to generate headlines and coverage for Sky in the build up to the race
- that maybe Wiggins is being cultivated as a plan B, and that is something that the team don't want to be rubbing in Froome's face so they are being kept apart.

That said, Wiggins build up this year has certainly not been about the Tour de France, which either means he's not going, or he is genuinely going in there in a supportive role.

Although any talk that the tour team will be selected from both the Dauphine and Swiss is bollards... most of the Swiss team have just finished the Giro... this is their last race before a mid-season break.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [269 posts]
4th June 2014 - 9:49

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Wiggins wouldn't need to do a recce of the routes. he lives very close to the area & I'm sure he's tackled holme moss, cragg vale, etc before.
It's hard not to speculate & we'd all be stupid if we weren't.
I saw Sir Dave & Shane Sutton at the velodrome on Monday evening deep in discussion on the sofa's in the foyer area, I wanted to ask but thought better to leave them alone. They're probably asked every day.

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posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
4th June 2014 - 11:28

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

that third one is arguable.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
4th June 2014 - 11:43

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Ghedebrav wrote:
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.

Agreed.

Wiggo in this year's Tour would have a similar three weeks to Cadel Evans in the Giro just gone - gradually slipping back whenever they cross a big hill, holding on in the TTs.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [827 posts]
4th June 2014 - 12:24

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Interestingly, Brad was training on the Manchester track yesterday - in GB kit - under the watchful eye of Shane Sutton

posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
4th June 2014 - 12:29

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Beaufort wrote:
The two have huge egos but Froome is a petulant child too. I'm certain that he will have made it clear that he has no intention of having Wiggins in his team. Don't be surprised if Bradley picks up an injury just before the TdF line-up is revealed.

Unlikely they'd get ayway with that one. If he's not doing the lap of France, he'll be doing the hard yards in training for the Commies.

posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
4th June 2014 - 12:36

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Sim1 wrote:
Interestingly, Brad was training on the Manchester track yesterday - in GB kit - under the watchful eye of Shane Sutton

Really? Maybe not doing the Tour de France, and having a crack at the hour record later in the year.

Does seem odd that he didn't do the recon with Froome in Yorkshire or on the cobbles.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1339 posts]
4th June 2014 - 14:05

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cat1commuter wrote:
Sim1 wrote:
Interestingly, Brad was training on the Manchester track yesterday - in GB kit - under the watchful eye of Shane Sutton

Really? Maybe not doing the Tour de France, and having a crack at the hour record later in the year.

Does seem odd that he didn't do the recon with Froome in Yorkshire or on the cobbles.

Looking ahead to Commie Games, innit. Richard Moore reckons he's going to ride track events as well as the TT.

posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
4th June 2014 - 14:36

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cat1commuter wrote:
Sim1 wrote:
Interestingly, Brad was training on the Manchester track yesterday - in GB kit - under the watchful eye of Shane Sutton

Really? Maybe not doing the Tour de France, and having a crack at the hour record later in the year.

Does seem odd that he didn't do the recon with Froome in Yorkshire or on the cobbles.

Looking ahead to Commie Games, innit. Richard Moore reckons he's going to ride track events as well as the TT (as per latest Cycling Podcast).

posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
4th June 2014 - 14:43

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Whatever the case and whoever rides Wiggins has been an inspiration to many others - whatever you say about his attitude or his behaviour etc he has won the medals got the palmares and nothing can change that. For Chris Froome shall wish him luck of course as the Tdf is not for the faint hearted but at the same time cannot help but feel whoever advises him has made a monumental blunder in terms of PR. He can keep winning but whether he will win the hearts and minds is something that only time can tell.

posted by Syahmi Naim [5 posts]
5th June 2014 - 4:12

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