Dave Brailsford confirms Chris Froome for Tour de France, Wiggins to focus on Giro d'Italia

Jonathon Tiernan-Locke also likely to get his chance in big races - but he'll need to shed a few kilos first

by Simon_MacMichael   November 23, 2012  

Bradley Wiggins in the maglia rosa (photo Pentaphoto Rcs Marco Trovati) .jpg

Dave Brailsford has publicly confirmed that Chris Froome will spearhead Team Sky’s challenge in the Tour de France next summer, while this year’s winner Bradley Wiggins will focus on adding the overall win in the Giro d’Italia to his growing palmarès.

The Team Sky principal was speaking last night at Action Medical Research’s Champions of Cycle Sport dinner at London’s Hurlingham Club and also confirmed that the British ProTeam would be looking to get new signing Jonathan Tiernan-Locke into some big races.

Next year’s Tour has a total of 65 kilometres of individual time trials compared to more than 100 kilometres in this year’s edition, one of those two stages against the clock coming during a tough final week in the Alps that arguably suits Froome’ climbing abilities more than it does those of Wiggins.

At the presentation of the 2013 Tour in Paris last month, Brailsford hinted that Froome was likely to be its main hope in the race, and that has now been confirmed by his comments yesterday evening in a question and answer session with Sky TV presenter Dermot Murnaghan.

A supposed intra-team rivalry between Froome and Wiggins, who had finished second and third respectively in last season’s Vuelta, was one of the more compelling sub-plots of this summer’s Tour de France.

The Tour finished in Paris with not only the first British winner of the 109-year-old race in Wiggins, but also a British one-two as Froome secured the runners-up spot.

A couple of incidents during the race – Froome apparently attacking Wiggins on Stage 11 and a discussion between the pair towards the end of Stage 17 once they were left alone in pursuit of stage winner Alejandro Valverde – gave rise to a wave of speculation that all was not well between Team Sky’s two stars.

Froome has insisted that he was simply looking to make up time on GC rivals, having lost more than a minute to a puncture in the first road stage of the race, and Sky’s official line has always been that Wiggins was the designated rider this year and that if a future Tour had a course better suited to Froome’s talents, he would get its full support.

Next year’s Giro, meanwhile – a race in which Wiggins has previously worn the maglia rosa, winning the Prologue in Amsterdam with Sky in 2010 – has a long, 55.5 kilometre individual time trial midway through which should suit Olympic champion Wiggins to a T, as well as a mountain time trial of nearly 20 kilometres in the final week.

According to rumours when the route was launched last month, the course is believed to have been designed in part to help entice Wiggins to focus on winning the Giro rather than concentrating on a defence of his Tour title.

Were he to go on and win the Giro, Wiggins would join some exalted names in winning both the French and Italian Grand Tours, five of whom – Jacques Anquetil, Alberto Contador, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx – have also won the Vuelta. Just getting onto the podium would see Wiggins becoming only the 14th cyclist to have done so in all three Grand Tours.

Finishing the race in the maglia rosa when it ends in Brescia would therefore pretty much seal Wiggins’ place as a legend of the sport, something British Cycling and Team Sky coach Shane Sutton said earlier this week that the 32-year-old had set as a goal.

Others may have won more on the road, but Wiggins also has six rainbow jerseys and three Olympic golds on the track, plus that time trial gold in London. Admittedly, until 1996, pros couldn’t take part in the Olympics, but it’s a pretty impressive haul nonetheless.

As for Tiernan-Locke, the 27-year-old Tour of Britain champion, signed from Endura Racing on a two-year contract, told Torbay area newspaper the Herald Express this week that while his racing calendar for next year hadn’t been decided yet, "There's a possibility I may ride the Vuelta.”

He added: "I want to get a Grand Tour in my legs, to see how I would respond to it. It changes you as a rider, and you learn a lot about yourself."

Brailsford said last night that he would be looking to get his new rider into some big races – a solid performance in this year’s world championships has prompted thoughts that he might target the Ardennes Classics.

The word last night though is that Sky want Tiernan-Locke to shed around 9 kilos to get into ideal shape for next season – and we also learnt that his original nickname wasn’t JTL, down in Devon he was given the monicker J-Lo which he joked with Murnaghan was due to his big butt. That would be the first thing to go if he adopts the Twiggo diet, we reckon.

24 user comments

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9kg? wow

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [329 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 16:55

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That does seem an awful lot of weight to shed - must have a hell of a harris on him!

posted by Sadly Biggins [264 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 17:14

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I saw Tiernan-Locke at a recent evening dinner event, he was tiny so losing 9kg is astonishing, but I would perhaps suggest he stays of the beer as well LOL.

posted by mikeprytherch [217 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 17:18

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I understand Froome deserves his shot but it sucks Wiggins won't even get a chance to repeat

new-to-cycling's picture

posted by new-to-cycling [47 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 17:27

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I listened to Ned Boulting's podcast last month and JTL told him he'd already lost 9kgs - so there may be a mix up in the story here. I can't see how JTL can lose anymore weight. He'll make Chris Froome look like Oliver Hardy if he does.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1052 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 17:36

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It's funny that JTL is 27. That's the weight in kilos I could do with losing... Wink

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1052 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 17:37

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So, wiggins is not going to support froome then and is froome going to get the same support,just wondering.

posted by mandy [84 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 17:47

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JTL was weighing in at something like 62kg over the summer. That's surely a good weight for a 5 foot 7 guy.

posted by iamelectron [107 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 17:54

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mandy wrote:
So, wiggins is not going to support froome then and is froome going to get the same support,just wondering.

From what's been said it looks like Wiggins will ride the Tour in support of Froome, it just won't be his main goal.

This year Sky were slammed in some quarters for not giving Froome free rein, I imagine next year they and Wiggins will get it in the neck for not respecting the maillot jaune...

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8004 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 18:03

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I'm already booked to go out for the last week of the Giro.... Big Grin Big Grin

Sky are already planning their assault on the Giro. Cant wait!

new-to-cycling: wouldnt worry about Wiggins, he's very publicy stated (interviews, his latest book) that he's more motivated about targeting the Giro next year than going back to try to win the Tour again next year. Also think that he doesnt want another dose of all the nonsense that he had to deal with this year during the Tour (the doping innuendos, the Froome business). The Giro is much more laid-back, for want of a better term.

posted by Sam1 [215 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 18:05

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
mandy wrote:
So, wiggins is not going to support froome then and is froome going to get the same support,just wondering.

From what's been said it looks like Wiggins will ride the Tour in support of Froome, it just won't be his main goal.

This year Sky were slammed in some quarters for not giving Froome free rein, I imagine next year they and Wiggins will get it in the neck for not respecting the maillot jaune...

As I said in another thread, Sky and Wiggo are damned if they do, and damned if they dont. Stuff the critics, I say.

Mandy: Sky have put together a squad for 2013 that's strong enough to field formidable support in the mountains for both Wiggo (Giro) and Froome (Tour). Its not going to be a question of one or the other. Sky are planning to seriously contest both GTs.

For me, their bigger challenge is replacing Sean Yates and Stephen De Jongh as DSs.

posted by Sam1 [215 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 18:37

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Wiggins beating Rodriguez/Nibali on a route with an ITT designed to tempt him there seems more likely than Froome beating Contador twice up Alpe D'Huez.

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 18:43

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Especially if Albuterol's been munching the steaks again... I'm hoping the pharmstrong furore will ensure a clean season next year though.

posted by Jon [35 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 20:16

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If John could lose 9kg, then we are all fat as beggary. Can't see it. Maybe they mean 9kgo from off season weight.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [253 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 21:10

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skys obsessed with losing weight - it didnt work for Cav this year as it slowed his sprint

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 21:19

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Good for Sky and Wiggins. It may help the general public realize that there are other grand tours apart from the TDF and that they are just as important in their own way. Maybe now we will get some real coverage on free UK TV of the Giro, Vuelta etc. I can't believe I just said something positive about Sky Confused

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 21:34

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iamelectron wrote:
JTL was weighing in at something like 62kg over the summer. That's surely a good weight for a 5 foot 7 guy.

I reckon that's a bit heavy for a pro although perfect for a normal guy. I'm 5 foot 8 and 61kg and although I'm slim I'm not light enough for a pro and have been a little lighter in the past (59 is my min.). I'm about 10/11% fat and a pro must be nearer 5-8%, preferably at the lower end of that. He probably should be about 55/56kg maybe depending on other factors. Power/weight ratio is king in the mountains.

posted by Alan Tullett [1434 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 21:45

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Fiftyacorn: Yeah, slowed Cav's sprint so much that he pulled off some of his most impressive sprints ever in the Tour, especially stages 2 & 18 Surprise

Sky prepared Cav to get him up Box Hill 9 times and the specific diet and training helped achieve that. Whatever else he still landed 15 wins this year , which I think is his highest number since 09 season.

posted by Sam1 [215 posts]
24th November 2012 - 7:36

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I wonder if privately Brailsford is planning for JTL to have a serious bash at the Vuelta next year, hence the need to shed some weight.

That would be something if three Brits win the three Grand Tours, Wiggins, Froome, Tiernan-Locke.

One thing Brailsford doesn't lack is ambition (except when it comes to organising a women's pro team...)

posted by seanbolton [133 posts]
24th November 2012 - 12:08

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Your right in saying about haveing an epic team to ride both giro and le tour which is brilliant,my point being that wiggins said he'd support froome in the tour and it was brought up a while back about offering the same technical support to froome and there was grumblins that it wouldnt be extensive as wiggins,now the posts have changed and wiggins is off to do the giro,we'll have to wait and see. Last grumble,mcquaid said a while back in a cycle mag, he loves watching the under 25's (women) race and he doesnt see the point in having a womens team,with that attitude from the top off the dung heap its no wonder womens cycling has suffered.

posted by mandy [84 posts]
24th November 2012 - 12:57

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Always thought JTL was a bit lardy...

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posted by gazpacho [80 posts]
24th November 2012 - 16:50

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can Wiggins support Froome in the way that Froome supported Wiggins?

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

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posted by Cooks [483 posts]
24th November 2012 - 16:56

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I was lucky enough to be at that dinner and pretty sure DB had his tongue firmly in cheek about JTL's weight. The guy is already TINY.

posted by Yennings [210 posts]
24th November 2012 - 18:42

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9KG!??
There's not very much of him in the first place. That must be some kind of wind up?

posted by herohirst [55 posts]
24th November 2012 - 19:56

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