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

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.

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.

24 comments

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themartincox [514 posts] 3 years ago
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9kg? wow

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 3 years ago
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That does seem an awful lot of weight to shed - must have a hell of a harris on him!

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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new-to-cycling [47 posts] 3 years ago
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I understand Froome deserves his shot but it sucks Wiggins won't even get a chance to repeat

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WolfieSmith [1326 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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WolfieSmith [1326 posts] 3 years ago
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It's funny that JTL is 27. That's the weight in kilos I could do with losing...  3

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mandy [94 posts] 3 years ago
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So, wiggins is not going to support froome then and is froome going to get the same support,just wondering.

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Bigringrider [212 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 3 years ago
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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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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm already booked to go out for the last week of the Giro....  4 4

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.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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CraigS [129 posts] 3 years ago
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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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Jon [33 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Jimmy Ray Will [483 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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fiftyacorn [89 posts] 3 years ago
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skys obsessed with losing weight - it didnt work for Cav this year as it slowed his sprint

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PaulVWatts [111 posts] 3 years ago
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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  7

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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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  13

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.

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sean1 [175 posts] 3 years ago
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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...)

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mandy [94 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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gazpacho [99 posts] 3 years ago
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Always thought JTL was a bit lardy...

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Cooks [491 posts] 3 years ago
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can Wiggins support Froome in the way that Froome supported Wiggins?

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Yennings [237 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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herohirst [73 posts] 3 years ago
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9KG!??
There's not very much of him in the first place. That must be some kind of wind up?