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2012 winner says "as things stand" there is no place for him in Sky challenge led by Chris Froome ...

Sir Bradley Wiggins says he is "gutted" at the prospect of missing this year's Tour de France, which starts in Yorkshire four weeks tomorrow. Wiggins, who in 2012 became the first Briton to win cycling's biggest race, told BBC Breakfast that "as things stand" he will not be at the start in Leeds - a situation that will change only if illness or injury prevents defending champion Chris Froome from racing.

 

Speaking to the programme’s presenters Charlie Stayt and Sally Nugent, Wiggins said: “As it stands I won’t be there.

“The team is focused around Chris Froome, the defending champion, who’s got a great chance of winning his second Tour, and it’s been decided that as things stand they’re going to base the team around him.

“So unfortunately I won’t be there but there will be plenty to cheer about – Mark Cavendish has got a great chance of taking the yellow jersey on day one, and it’s going to be a huge celebration.”

Stayt asked Wiggins, given his accomplishments, why Sky wouldn’t want him in the team.

“A lot of it is you have the leader, then eight guys supporting that leader,” Wiggins said. “A lot of times the guys who support the leader are almost good enough to win in their own right, as we saw a couple of years ago with myself and Chris.

“Chris has gone on to win the Tour and as defending champion has a say in who he has around him and he’s had guys who go to all his training camps and build-up races throughout the year, his group of riders.

“I’ve been following a different path, I went to Paris-Roubaix earlier in the year and tried to attempt something different there, I went to the Tour of California a month ago and won there.

“So we’ve been on different paths and as it gets closer to the Tour, Dave Brailsford, the manager, decides who’s best fitted to do that job.

“Myself and Chris haven’t raced all year together," he added.

Stayt put it to Wiggins: “You’re being very diplomatic about this but it’s hard to think from the outside you’re not absolutely gutted?”

“I’m gutted. I’ve worked extremely hard for this all winter, and right through the summer up to California and winning that, I feel I’m in the form I was in two years ago at the 2012 Tour de France.

“But I also understand that cycling is a team sport and at the end of the day about the team winning and that team is Team Sky and Chris is the defending champion.”

“There is this race on now in France and barring any injury to Chris there if he crashes or whatever then there will still be a chance I could come into the team, as the set-up of the team changes.

"But as it stands, Chris staying fit and healthy, then the team will roll out of Harrogate [sic].”

Asked if he was angry at Froome, whose autobiography is published this week, questioning his mental strength at the 2012 Tour, Wiggins said: “Not really. Books get written all the time particularly in this day and age in cycling and there seems to be a different book out every week.

“It’s two years ago now, everyone has a different view on how things happened.

“I think one of the things with the Tour de France is you’re on the road for one month with a group of guys and you’re going to have different emotions, different days, different mood swings.

“A very good friend of mine from the rugby world summed it up, he said ‘I don’t know how you do it, I can do it for 90 minutes, I can’t do it for four weeks’ – so I think that sums it up for me,” he concluded.

Wiggins’ contract with Sky expires at the end of the season, a fact not lost on others within the sport.

 

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.

114 comments

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Pauldmorgan [217 posts] 1 year ago
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This is an unbelievable shame. He deserves more respect than this. Put me in the ABF camp (Anyone But Froome).

I'd love to see Brad at Garmin next year.

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Beaufort [270 posts] 1 year ago
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Bradley is being very hard done by. Is it too late for him to ride for another team this season I wonder ?

I hope Froome gets his arse kicked in Le Tour.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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Good on him for taking it on the chin, no throwing his toys or whatever. I can't help thinking though that all this achieves is that one of the world's best won't be at the biggest race.

I hope this has been a purely rational decision made by DB and not a call made by CF as a result of all the digs at each other.

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peteforde [4 posts] 1 year ago
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Can not Believe that Sir Brad is not going to the Tour. Absolutely ridiculous. I think the power has gone to Brailsfords head. Still plenty of other teams out there for Sir Brad.

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Justin Something [7 posts] 1 year ago
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Gotta love that tweet from Oleg Tinkov. But this shame tho as the public love Sir Wiggins and to not race on home soil is a blunder for the sport. This is Wiggins choice I'm sure of it, as he will not be the team leader. I hope he doesn't cry so much when he is racing for that Australian team.

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Must be Mad [490 posts] 1 year ago
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"To an outsider, unfamiliar with how teams work, it probably seems bizarre that a rider would have to persuade his team to try to allow him to win the biggest race in the sport."

~Chris Froome

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crazy-legs [704 posts] 1 year ago
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Airzound wrote:

Sky have dumped on Wiggins just like they did Cav...

No they haven't, they've selected the best team to win the Tour. It's not a popularity contest or a parade of the riders you happen to like.

You choose the best team to win based on the parcours, the team commitments throughout the year, the racing history of each rider and the chances they have to contribute and commit to the goal of getting the team leader to the finish in yellow.

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pmr [196 posts] 1 year ago
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Tinkov might have a point, Rogers, Roche, Majka etc al Wiggins looks a good team to me. Contador may go for the Giro next year, Wiggins has one more road year in him before RIO, which will prob see him refocus on track. Maybe he still got the Vuelta this year if he's up for that along with the Worlds.

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mikefreer [17 posts] 1 year ago
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Im gutted for Wiggo!
Its a massive shame that he wont be there on the start line on home soil for both himself and the public who wanted to see him race the tour!!

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james-o [232 posts] 1 year ago
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For me, Sky and the TDF will be a lot less interesting this year. So many of us tend to support riders, not teams. Would be good to see Froome win again of course but for whatever reason 2013 was nothing like seeing Wiggins win in 2012, that was just magical.

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Mpittick [14 posts] 1 year ago
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Obvious choice by the management at sky. It is all about having one leader and team he trusts completely. Given froome and wiggins don't get on and it is all about froome winning then leaving him out is key to this success. It doesn't matter how good brad is, if he isn't a team player in that team, then he is not helping overall success. I think the spats between them in the past, such as taking about year to pay froome his share of tour winning spoils, shows the relationship. What goes around comes around too. Makes complete sense, you don't want a team full of captains and leaders.

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Matt_Z [32 posts] 1 year ago
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I honestly dislike Froome's attitude towards Bradley since two years ago. He seems to have an ego that damages those around him. I know many will disagree, yet I feel Sky could have done better with Wiggo. Hope he finds a team that supports him, Tinkoff-Saxo or any other. Just as mentioned before Cav struggled at Sky and he seems to be happy now at OPQS, hope Brad can do the same.

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Wookie [212 posts] 1 year ago
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Matt_Z wrote:

I honestly dislike Froome's attitude towards Bradley since two years ago. He seems to have an ego that damages those around him. I know many will disagree, yet I feel Sky could have done better with Wiggo. Hope he finds a team that supports him, Tinkoff-Saxo or any other. Just as mentioned before Cav struggled at Sky and he seems to be happy now at OPQS, hope Brad can do the same.

Cav only struggled at Sky because Sky are a GC team not a sprint team. You can only have one leader and Sky have decided that leader should be Froome. I also think that Froome is a better prospect for Yellow than Wiggo.

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JackBuxton [34 posts] 1 year ago
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It's a shame for the publicity of the tour - Wiggo is a legend!

But, as others have said, it's about Froome having the best possible team to go up against Contador (Who is looking dangerous!) and Wiggo obviously isn't seen by Froome and Brailsford as being the man - simple as.

Personally i think Sky will be missing a trick, with the TT being the penultimate stage (if Froome has a poor show, could be taken advantage of by Contador et al) Wiggo could have been Sky's saving grace due to his quality TT skills. But, if DB and CF are confident in the rest of the squad then fair enough!

Still going to be a great tour.

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JackBuxton [34 posts] 1 year ago
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P.s. Wiggo could be in with a great chance in the Vuelta this year anyway!

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Scrumpymonkey [6 posts] 1 year ago
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Christ, some of the comments on here are so bloody childish. Look at what Wiggo said in his interview. He is undoubtedly gutted but he is being very professional about it. Froome is the guy who has been the focus of the team and you don't win the TdF without a damn good team and Wiggo has clearly stated that if he was to be part of that team now, it could throw the whole team dynamics out of sync.

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Bobbinogs [128 posts] 1 year ago
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I don't see how Sky have done anything other than make a very rational decision based on team dynamics and performance. Wiggo is a great rider but would have been an unsettling force within the team despite all the reassurances to the contrary.

Sky dumping on Cav? How does that work out? He was paid handsomely, was let off a break clause that could have cost millions and then went on to make a great deal of money at OPQS. He knew exactly what Sky's focus would be in the tour as they clearly stated GC as their main objective when they setup in the first place. The problem with many riders (like many top sportsmen/women) is their fragile egos and it takes a lot of adjustment going from The Mr Big to A.N.Other Mr Big.

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oozaveared [933 posts] 1 year ago
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Pauldmorgan wrote:

This is an unbelievable shame. He deserves more respect than this. Put me in the ABF camp (Anyone But Froome).

I'd love to see Brad at Garmin next year.

Can I sell you some time shares in the Ukraine please?

This is simple to decipher. Sky has picked Froome over Wiggo to be the GC contender. They pay the salaries and they have the numbers so that's their choice to make. Wiggo could be in that set up. The fact is that he's a prima donna. And he won't ride for Froome. He's almost certianly been asked over and over to join that TdF team. If anything happened to Froome he would be a good replacement.

I will always repect Wiggo and remember him fondly for winning the TdF. Joining a cyccling club and racing in the 70's the idea that British rider could do anything more than maybe win a stage or two was too much even to hope for. So chapeau to Wiggo for that. But his behaviour since has been less than exemplary. Especially in relation to Froome.

As for the interview and the comment "as it stands" he's clearly still hoping to change a performance based decision with an appeal to public opinion. Clever and political but not the stuff of champions really is it?

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timegan [12 posts] 1 year ago
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In Brailsford I trust. He's the boss. Wiggins is a difficult character who obviously hasn't been willing to become a team player. Cycling is a team sport as he says himself.

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oozaveared [933 posts] 1 year ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Good on him for taking it on the chin, no throwing his toys or whatever. I can't help thinking though that all this achieves is that one of the world's best won't be at the biggest race.

I hope this has been a purely rational decision made by DB and not a call made by CF as a result of all the digs at each other.

This interview is him throwing his toys out of the pram.

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doc_davo [30 posts] 1 year ago
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given all team sky's work on extracting every possible gain, I would have thought they would have looked at everything with regards to assembling this team, they obv don't feel its the best fit in the team dynamic - brailsford understands wiggins and has a long term working relationship with him so probably knows him far better than the people on this forum and has an understanding about who he would impact the TdF sky team; so all this talk of keyboard warriors suggesting Braislford is making a huge mistake, as if he hasn't given this full thought is a little rediculous.

As a casual observer, there is plenty of stuff to suggest he is a good enough rider but also to suggest Wiggins will choose who he rides and commits to/for, as seen at the worlds champs last year as opposed to 2011 WC - so within the team management envirionemnt this may be even more preverlent.

It is and was supposed to be about the team and team leader and plenty of people who supported wiggins and have been team mates for him seem determined to turn themselves inside out for both froome or wiggins so you have to suggests froome isn't that bad of a person/team mate, and neither is wiggins - though it appears froome and wiggins are like oil and water.

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Must be Mad [490 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

This interview is him throwing his toys out of the pram.

I disagree. Have you seen the interview? He was answering the questions put to him calmly and without placing blame anywhere. No toys visible.

I feel that this interview was either;

a) Just a part of his contract / TDF team negotiations with Sky. (is he still managed by that company he signed up to early last year?)

OR

b) Wiggins trying to set the expectations with media and public before the TDF team is announced. Better a nice friendly chat with some (non cycling specific) journalists where he can tell his story rather than having to deal with it all over the Tour Swiss

OR

c) Both of the above

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gaetanstaples [1 post] 1 year ago
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Wouldn't it be a good idea to have Wiggins as a backup for Froome? Everyone knows how quickly a race can be over due to crashes or illness. Perhaps the choice was made over relationships and potential tension in the group rather than racing ability, which would've maybe have had negative knock-on effects on performance? Either way, I'm very impressed with the way Wiggins spoke in that interview. You could tell he was gutted but he stayed professional. A great role model for the sport!

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eddie11 [109 posts] 1 year ago
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It does look as if Wiggins is a difficult character or 'mercurial'. Rod ellingworth's autobiograhoy is worth a read about the how they flexed british cycling/sky's systems for him. Looks like they have reach the point in his career and they see they have other riders that they dont need to accomodate hims anymore if they cant trust hes 100% behind froome.

having said that though I am still suprised based on form, hes probably been one of skys best riders this year, has consistently said he would work for froome and could realy do a job towing the train on the lower slopes and flats (and cobbles!) this year, esp. with Stannard injured.

the 2013 Brad i would have had no sympathy but 2014 Brad i am suprised and dissapointed for him.

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Jimmy Ray Will [439 posts] 1 year ago
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I am amazed at how anti-wiggins so many of these comment are.

Based on what?

Pre-madonna... How and when?

I personally think Wiggins has been royally done over by Sky since his tour win.

I get it, from a sporting perspective, the safe bet is Froome. In that case, why not just be upfront and get rid of Wiggins? Seems to me they have had him hanging on in the sidelines in case it all went tits up with Froomedog.

Britains first TDF winner deserves more than he has received in team support.

As for being a pre-madonna, if by that, you mean trying to assert himself as a leader, then yeah maybe... for instance, how dare he get upset that one of his deputees ignored team orders after all...

... but imagine, you've just won the biggest annual sporting event in the world, and then your bosses say 'thanks for that, now could I have two sugars in my tea please, tea boy?'

Its not right.

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andyp [1436 posts] 1 year ago
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BTW folks. If you're going to start calling someone a 'prima donna', please learn how to spell it.

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andyp [1436 posts] 1 year ago
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ABF? ABS.

Terrible, terrible decision. Hope that someone buys out his contract and lets him ride.

'obviously hasn't been willing to become a team player.'
That being levelled at Wiggins, rather than Froome, is hilarious.

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Tjuice [170 posts] 1 year ago
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I am as sad as most people in this thread that Wiggo is very unlikely to make the team this year. However, Sky's intention has been very clear from its inception: to win the TdF.

As stated elsewhere in this thread, the team is not there to provide a parade of the most popular riders, and Sky has demonstrated clearly that it will do what it believes will give the best chance of winning, irrespective of who likes it or not.

Given what these guys put themselves through, it seems entirely reasonable to ensure the team leader feels 100% comfortable that every other man is working entirely for him, has complete confidence in their support, and has good understanding of how they tick and of their capabilities. The last thing the team leader needs is any niggling doubt about one of his most vital support men. If Wiggo wanted to be CF's primary support for the TdF this year, I would have thought it would have made sense for him to be training shoulder-to-shoulder with CF throughout the year to instil in him a deep confidence that he would be his right hand man, no matter what.

It would be fantastic to see Wiggo in this year's TdF. It would be great for the sport (esp. in the UK), and for the UK fans. And despite his behaviour in the last couple of years, I am still more of a fan of BW than CF, who I can't quite warm to.
However, as a Brit, I will continue to support Sky throughout the TdF this year. I will still avidly following each stage and hope to see CF on the top step in Paris (or one of his lieutenants if some unfortunate accident were to befall him on the way).

I hope that Wiggo wins Tour of Switzerland, and has the opportunity to go on and win the Vuelta.

Good luck team Sky.

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stenmeister [216 posts] 1 year ago
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andyp wrote:

BTW folks. If you're going to start calling someone a 'prima donna', please learn how to spell it.

Yeah, I was wondering what Madonna had to do with this. Didn't think she was into cycling.

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Luminosity [76 posts] 1 year ago
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For me, Sky and the TDF will be a lot less interesting this year. So many of us tend to support riders, not teams.

Exactly.

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