Video: Sir Dave Brailsford says Tour de France team selection "terrifically difficult"

Sky boss says logic not emotion will determine team's line-up

by Simon_MacMichael   June 22, 2014  

Sir Dave Brailsford (InCycle YouTube still)

Sir Dave Brailsford says that it will be logic not emotion that will determine Team Sky’s line-up at the Tour de France, which starts in Leeds a week on Saturday, but admits that striking a balance between choosing a winning team and keeping fans happy is “terrifically difficult.”

While team principal Brailsford insists he will not finalise the list of nine riders until after the Tour de Suisse, which finishes today, Sir Bradley Wiggins revealed that earlier this month that he did not expect to make the team unless defending champion Chris Froome suffers illness or injury.

In a video for InCycle, Brailsford said: “We’re all human. I love this sport. We’ve got fantastic champions. Bradley’s a brilliant champion. He’s been brilliant for this country. Chris Froome’s a brilliant champion.

Injury meant that Wiggins, winner of the Tour de France in 2012 with Froome runner-up, missed last year’s race. Sky’s plan was that he would support his team mate, although Wiggins had made noises about wanting to defend his title, so his absence prevented a repeat of the tension between the two riders that had been apparent the previous year.

The pair have not raced together for almost 18 months, and most recently Froome rode the Critérium de Dauphiné, fading in the final two days due to the after-affects of a crash earlier in the race, while Wiggins’ efforts at the Tour de Suisse were curtailed when he too suffered a fall and withdrew.

Brailsford acknowledges that his role means he has to make some difficult choices.

He said: “The challenge is this. When you come to look at a sports team at times you come up against some pretty tricky situations and you have to make a decision about are you going to try and win, and what will it take.

“Then you look at all the information and then you have to think about, there’s emotion over here, and there’s logic over here. And my job if I want to pick winning teams, which I’ve done for quite some time now is to take the emotion out of it and think ‘Right, what is the best way to win this race?’.”

“When you think about sporting decisions, along the way, if you want to win, you’ve got to make really tough decisions.

“Some of them you’ve got to stand back and think, ‘What are we trying to do, where are we trying to get to,’ and then you’ve got to gather information, look at the facts, and logically make a decision about are you trying to win or not.”

While Brailsford didn’t say who was in the team, reading between the lines it appears that Wiggins is correct in his belief that he won’t be at the Grand Départ in Leeds a week on Saturday.

“It’s not just Chris and Brad, you look at the whole group dynamic, you look at the whole dynamic of the team, you look at relationships and you look at how commitment is and how willing people are to sacrifice and suffer and give themselves for someone else’s benefit and the team’s benefit.

“That all comes into consideration. So it’s not just about maybe two people if there’s any friction, it’s about how that might affect the entire group, how that might affect the entire staffing team.

“You want a unified team who are absolutely going for the same goal if you want to be successful in this race and we’ll take that into consideration for sure.”

Brailsford said he expects an exciting race, with protagonists including not just Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali, but also riders such as Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky, Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski, and Bauke Mollema of Belkin, whom he believes are capable of causing an upset.

8 user comments

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Saying that Wiggins isn't in the team in the most roundabout way possible without actually saying it - this is not helping anyone.

posted by HarrogateSpa [82 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 17:25

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These articles are like Discovery Channel documentaries; constant recapping of the story so far for the hard of thinking. No doubt when Sky do announce their TdF team there'll be another three paragraphs of exposition just in case we've all been struck down by memory loss. Still, it's all page views, innit? Yawn

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [149 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 22:02

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Him Up North wrote:
....are like Discovery Channel

Hidden message?

posted by daddyELVIS [384 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 22:39

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More like the constantly breaking news on Sky News, then...

posted by Yennings [206 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 2:57

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He's been reading the Chimp Paradox again. Maybe if Wiggins did the same or spoke to Steve Peters, he might be able to put his ego back in its box and work for Froome. He gets well paid to do more than flounce around off the back of the peloton.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [538 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 9:54

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
He's been reading the Chimp Paradox again. Maybe if Wiggins did the same or spoke to Steve Peters, he might be able to put his ego back in its box and work for Froome. He gets well paid to do more than flounce around off the back of the peloton.

Steve Peters is busy in Brazil helping England win the World Cup... oh hang on, he might be available again !

posted by dts3_1999 [10 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 12:40

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If Sky don't pick Wiggo, they won't have a viable plan B in the event of contingencies like broken collar bones etc.

And it would demonstrate that Dave B is either letting Froome decide whether Wiggo is in the team - not something Sir Alex Ferguson would ever have done - or letting his emotions rather than dispassionate logic decide. He may not like Wiggo, but that shouldn't matter as he's a potential winner.

Would Sky prefer not to win at all if Froome has an accident or illness?

posted by Kadenz [37 posts]
25th June 2014 - 22:08

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Wiggins is not a potential winner any more than Roche is for Saxo Tinkoff. Wiggins should be there to ride tempo on the climbs, protect on the cobbles, and let loose on the TT on the penultimate day. He is no threat at all to Froome on this course. But he could be useful, if they'll swallow their pride and admit it.

posted by pdf500 [13 posts]
25th June 2014 - 23:10

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