"Gutted" - Sir Bradley Wiggins confirms he won't ride Tour de France

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

by Simon_MacMichael   June 6, 2014  

Sir Bradley Wiggins on BBC Breakfast 6 June 2014

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.

 

115 user comments

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I don't think Wiggins has the same chance as Froome. Froome can TT nearly as fast and is a class apart on the mountains. He also can look after himself a little more when it comes down to small groups in the mountains which makes the team's work a little easier.

It is disappointing for Wiggins' fans not to see him in Yorkshire, but for the team winning is more important and they presumably see themselves as having a stronger line up to support Froome without Wiggins. For once, the PR seems to have taken a back seat to the performance of the team.

posted by domofarmfrites [19 posts]
7th June 2014 - 7:58

9 Likes

I do assume that every one above works for Sky and is the person who actually knows all of the facts.
Nope . Guess work and personal preference takes the stage.

posted by mattsccm [259 posts]
7th June 2014 - 8:34

8 Likes

A very dignified response from a Knight of the Realm. Cool, calm and collected.

There's more to come from Sir Bradley, I'm sure.

Chris D

posted by wingsofspeed68 [50 posts]
7th June 2014 - 9:07

13 Likes

Perhaps Froome was worried that Sir Wiggins would come second just one second behind, demonstrating that Sir Wiggo could easily have won.

Mixte Rider

posted by adriank999 [64 posts]
7th June 2014 - 9:50

15 Likes

Well, that has rather spoiled my Saturday morning!

For a a team operated by one of the slickest media operations in the world, this is a shambles. Team Sky should be announcing the TDF squad, not Sir Brad. I never thought I would hear myself say this but I am now going to be pulling for one of the European squads, rather than Sky. Who would I rather see win the GC? A plastic Brit who lives in Monaco (I would much prefer the Brit who lives in Lancashire if I am honest) or the likes of Contador, Nibali et al? My interest has now shifted to the points category and the battle between Cav, Kittel and Sagan.

Wiggo has been very diginified about the way this has been handled and although I have purchased several books about British cycling. I know which one I will be giving a miss.

Perhaps Wiggo will be giving Mr Tinkov's tweet a second thought! Either that or Alonso, Movistar, Orica's overtures.

cinelli Dave's picture

posted by cinelli Dave [10 posts]
7th June 2014 - 9:50

14 Likes

I think it's those commenting on how the public will perceive this, particularly with the Tour starting in the UK this year, that have correctly understood the impact of this decision. It seems to me to be a bit of a PR own goal.

As I follow the sport, I understand the team dynamics of cycling and the reason why Wiggo isn't riding, Joe Public doesn't and so wonders why the most prominent Britsh rider of recent years isn't participating in the biggest event in the sport. That's exactly why he appeared on a mainstream forum like BBC Breakfast to explain what was what.

The fact is that Froome just doesn't have the same level of non-enthusiast public support as Wiggins does, and I suspect there will be some who won't now watch the Tour as a result. Niche sports like cycling need their personalities to remain promiment at the highest level to keep the public interested, which in turn helps to keep the public on bikes themselves. I'm sure plenty of kids got into cycling too off the back of 2012 because they wanted to be "just like Bradley Wiggins", I just don't think the same can be said about Froome, even if he were to win again this year.

posted by parksey [234 posts]
7th June 2014 - 9:54

19 Likes

So disappointing, can't believe this is not entirely Froomes input, seeing how Brad rode the time trial in the Tour of California, it looks like he is as fit as he has ever been. Not to decry the other team members selected, but really, what? they all rank better than Wiggins....I don't think so.
I hope for Brailsfords and Froomes sake he wins, or you'll never hear the end of it.
I have tried to like Froome, and found it very difficult as he seems to have the same type of cariama as Andy Murray, I'm afraid I won't be cheering the South African (passports don't count) on during the tour.
An excellent and entertaining race spoiled. Angry

posted by Deggo [2 posts]
7th June 2014 - 10:32

11 Likes

parksey wrote:
As I follow the sport, I understand the team dynamics of cycling and the reason why Wiggo isn't riding, Joe Public doesn't and so wonders why the most prominent Britsh rider of recent years isn't participating in the biggest event in the sport.

A few years ago at the final stage of the Tour of Britain in London, some bloke wandering past asked me if Chris Hoy was riding Big Grin

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8102 posts]
7th June 2014 - 10:42

13 Likes

What was the original reason for Wiggins being on the show?

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

ragtag's picture

posted by ragtag [155 posts]
7th June 2014 - 10:56

13 Likes

This is purely wiggos take on the provisional squad talks DB hasn't announced it yet so there was every chance he could have been included if he performed at the TdS , however he has now probably crippled his chances by saying he is gutted blah blah blah.

Froome is and should be the main gc contender as this TdF route is better suited to him wiggo simply doesn't want to play second fiddle to anyone hence his diplomatic way of removing himself from the selection process .

And to those of you who were going to cheer SKY if wiggo rode and are now saying you won't because froome is the no.1 , why? Because you all believe wiggo has a God given right to lead? Laughable....

posted by chiv30 [870 posts]
7th June 2014 - 11:27

7 Likes

The more I think about this the angrier I get. Our top cyclist, first ever British winner of the Tour de France which is starting in the UK, back in the shape of his life and he's not riding? Are you kidding me? Brailsford you have seriously lost the plot.
Froome had better win if he ever wants to set foot in this country again, not that he will

Get out and ride

posted by davidtcycle [62 posts]
7th June 2014 - 11:38

15 Likes

I think it's time to start a petition At Wits End

Get out and ride

posted by davidtcycle [62 posts]
7th June 2014 - 11:55

9 Likes

davidtcycle wrote:
I think it's time to start a petition At Wits End
Will it be to suggest that all the armchair experts give it a rest? If so, I'll sign.

It amazes me that so many numpties on t'internet seem to have a far better idea of what to do than the people that are employed by the team. Thinking

I feel for Bradley, the first British Tour winner, multi-Olympic medallist, it must be tough for him. However, the team must be selected to give what they consider the best chance of winning. I'm sure many, many hours will be put into it, checking the parcours, exploring options and possible outcomes. I wouldn't relish the responsibility.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1963 posts]
7th June 2014 - 12:59

12 Likes

I cannot see what all the hooha is about. Team sky are all about winning the Tour, end of. They will pick the best team for that, without the chance of any unrest in the team during the race. Wiggins could not win this years tour, he wouldn't have won last years even if he was fit, Froome did & will have a better chance than wiggins this year. It's hard enough to win with a full team behind you without wondering if one will shaft you at some time.

posted by Fatbagman [19 posts]
7th June 2014 - 13:47

8 Likes
Luminosity's picture

posted by Luminosity [65 posts]
7th June 2014 - 14:17

9 Likes

Fatbagman wrote:
I cannot see what all the hooha is about. Team sky are all about winning the Tour, end of. They will pick the best team for that, without the chance of any unrest in the team during the race. Wiggins could not win this years tour, he wouldn't have won last years even if he was fit, Froome did & will have a better chance than wiggins this year. It's hard enough to win with a full team behind you without wondering if one will shaft you at some time.

Maybe so, but their losses from this debacle are already substantial.

Brailsford needs to learn that 'winning' is a long-term business, and this smacks of mental frailty on both his and Froome's part, combined with a staggering complacency regarding those from whom their support comes. There has been many a successful team containing players who frankly hate each others' guts: Ribery & Robben at Bayern Munich is but one example.

At the end of the day, cycling (like football) is frippery, an entertainment, albeit a wonderful one, and for Froome/Brailsford to think otherwise is arrogant in the extreme.

posted by shabbyhouse [5 posts]
7th June 2014 - 15:46

7 Likes

It's really sad that he won't be riding the tour on British soil.

Our (joint) most decorated Olympian, a knight of the realm, a genuine Tour champion, a magnet for the media and an inspiration to many. In a sport that loves it's own history, it seems strange that sky can't see the value of all this to the team and the brand.

A team that once could not put a foot wrong seems to have lost the plot and it's Brad and the fans that suffer.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/robert-millar/robert-millar-blog-man-down

posted by Saturdayboy [39 posts]
7th June 2014 - 19:06

7 Likes

When Bradley won the tour in 2012 I thought it would be a nice gesture if he helped Froome win it in 2013 but if Froome has purposely prevented him from taking part then it seems clear to me that Froome is just a a$$hole and a weak minded one at that.

Brad is our first winner of the Tour and he has never had the opportunity to defend his title.

Do Sky believe all 8 of the other riders in the team are stronger than a previous tour winner? Brad needs to get himself out of Sky at the first opportunity.

posted by earth [79 posts]
7th June 2014 - 19:34

8 Likes

Good article in The Guardian about it all.
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/jun/06/sky-limit-sir-bradley-...

I still can't work out why people are getting so emotional about it all. You pick the best team to do the job. Same in any walk of life.

posted by crazy-legs [517 posts]
7th June 2014 - 20:42

8 Likes

What I don't understand is why Wiggins was allowed, if indeed he was, to go to the media to tell of his omission before any teams have been announced. Odd that it's about the same time as Froomes book is due out.

posted by Fatbagman [19 posts]
7th June 2014 - 21:17

9 Likes

Perhaps all the froome haters should read this thread and take note of what DB said .....proves my earlier point that wiggo is diplomatically spitting the dummy out ....again!

http://road.cc/content/news/120735-geraint-thomas-says-he-doesnt-envy-br...

posted by chiv30 [870 posts]
7th June 2014 - 22:22

6 Likes

chapod wrote:
Chuck wrote:
chapod wrote:
TDF history will say that Froome didnt let Wiggins ride the tour.

If Froome wins I don't think it will.

Serious fans are interested in more than just who won.

Oh, are they? Thanks for letting the rest of us tourists know.
Anyway, rather patronising comment aside you're right of course, but if Froome wins then I still think that will eclipse internal Sky wranglings- this is a long way from a sort of legendary rivalry IMO.

posted by Chuck [381 posts]
8th June 2014 - 12:46

3 Likes

The tdf is devalued without Wiggo in it!

Dunc

posted by Duncan Farrell [6 posts]
8th June 2014 - 14:54

5 Likes

Hmm? I suspect that there is more to it than a straight out "We don't need you" from Team Sky.

Are we sure that Wiggo won't be there soley because CF does not want him there, or because Wiggo is also not quite towing with line?

Perhaps the good knight asked that (like LA on his comeback on the same team as Contador?) he not be required to *solely support* but also be allowed to go for the win if in the lead.

I know that Wiggo said he would support CF, but 100%? Any past winner of the tour would find a 100% support role a little irksome methinks.

Even Wiggo is not pledging 100% servitude, personally I wish that like the LA/Contador thing they allow a bit of friction in Team Sky, because I love Wiggo.

If it should transpire that it is really just a case of CF saying "No Wiggo, not even as my slaverider (soigneur?)," then I guess that even us Brits will hoping he gets loads of flat tyres! Boo!

posted by timtak [25 posts]
8th June 2014 - 15:42

3 Likes

Duncan Farrell wrote:
The tdf is devalued without Wiggo in it!

It really isn't is it ....that is the strangest comment yet ....wiggo isn't bigger than the tdf

posted by chiv30 [870 posts]
8th June 2014 - 15:45

5 Likes

Duncan Farrell wrote:
The tdf is devalued without Wiggo in it!

I don't think so, there's no point in him going just to make up the numbers, and we all know he couldn't beat contador or nibali regardless of how good his form is. Besides, from the recent brailsford quotes it looks like he's opted to take himself off the team, chucking his toys out the pram again. Here's me thinking it was just the footballers that were prima donnas when it came to team selection & bitching about other team members.

posted by Fatbagman [19 posts]
8th June 2014 - 15:46

6 Likes

'If you mean me ( I think it was me that made that comment first) it was spelled correctly.'

so perhaps I meant someone else? Not a difficult one, that.

posted by andyp [893 posts]
9th June 2014 - 12:52

1 Like

chiv30 wrote:
Perhaps all the froome haters should read this thread and take note of what DB said .....proves my earlier point that wiggo is diplomatically spitting the dummy out ....again!

http://road.cc/content/news/120735-geraint-thomas-says-he-doesnt-envy-brailsford-having-make-wiggins-tour-de-france#comment-262160

The only thing that has been proven by all of this is that some people prefer Chris Froome and some people prefer Bradley Wiggins.

If anyone from Sky starts telling you it's daylight, you'd better pull back the curtains and check for yourself.

posted by farrell [1451 posts]
9th June 2014 - 13:09

3 Likes

Good point, Beefy. But then, Brad hasn't done himself too many favours over the past couple of years. The reports that his team-mates had to wait nine months or more for their money after he won Le Tour don't sit too well with his 'man-of-the-people' image. Nevertheless, I hope he has a good season and that, next year and with a new team, he does even better. What's more, he will always be the first Englishman to win Le Tour.

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [67 posts]
9th June 2014 - 15:38

3 Likes

'I still can't work out why people are getting so emotional about it all. '

Yeah. Sports fans getting emotional. What's all that about. Anyone would think they enjoyed cycling rather than just treating it as a business.

posted by andyp [893 posts]
10th June 2014 - 12:06

1 Like