Wiggins says Sky may have two leaders at 2013 Tour de France

2012 Tour winner tells BBC he intends to win in 2013 too, but has he told Brailsford and Froome?

by Tony Farrelly   December 13, 2012  

Bradley Wiggins - image by Brendan A Ryan via Flickr

2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has told the BBC he intends to win the 2013 edition of the race and has suggested that Team Sky might have two team leaders in France - him and Chris Froome.

In comments that are unlikely to be music to the ears of either Froome or Sky team principal, Dave Brailsford, Wiggins told BBC Radio 5Live that:

"We are resetting the goals, trying to win a second Tour de France, but you cannot replicate those circumstances. I accept that and am quite happy with that as you cannot have too many moments like that in your career.

"As it stands, I'm probably going to try and win a second Tour de France, so I don't know, maybe we'll have two leaders."

Brailsford has gone on record as saying that Froome will be Sky's designated leader for the race - the more mountainous course is widely thought to suit the younger man more than Wiggins whose time trialling prowess was ideally suited to the format of the 2012 race.

Wiggins comments to 5Live left little room for doubt regarding his intentions for the 2013 Tour.

"My goal is to win the Tour next year, whether that is realised or not, I don't know really," Wiggins told the station.

"How that's going to work with the team I don't know, it's more Dave's problem, really, to worry about.

"It's just how we service both mouths - that's more the problem to figure out."

While Wiggins remarks were probably tailored to his audience, it will be interesting to see how they go down with Chris Froome in particular. From the outside the Wiggins/Froome dynamic would appear to be a rather brittle combination of mutual wariness mixed with respect. At least in public both men have kept a lid on comments that might suggest any mutual distrust - however the mood music from their respective camps suggests that relations are probably fragile.

That won't be helped by what seems to be a volte face by Wiggins over next year's Tour - at the launch for next year's race in October he suggested that he would likely ride in a supporting role for Froome at the race, as Froome did for him at this year's edition.

Last month Wiggins was reported to be targeting the Giro - the parcours for next year's race would appear to be more suited to him than the Tour; and according to Team Sky and British Cycling head coach Shane Sutton Wiggins believed that following up his Tour win by winning the Giro would make him a cycling legend.

Wiggins also told the 5Live audience that winning the time trial Olympic Gold at Hampton Court "will never be topped, it was the height of my career and it will never be bettered."

31 user comments

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Is there a precedence of this having taken place in previous tours with other teams? i.e going into the tour with two team leaders

posted by dnlmend [1 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:00


That quote taken on its own doesn't necessarily mean that Froome won't be leader this year- Wiggins could just be talking about winning a 2nd sometime in the future. And as the article says, it'd be a bit odd for Wiggins to go against pretty much everything that's come out of Sky about 2013 at this point.

posted by Chuck [495 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:20


More quotes added. He's definitely talking about 2013.

Yes, I'm pretty sure there are precedents of teams going in with two team leaders. Not many and I'm wracking my caffeine addled brain to remember one. The fact I'm having trouble might be a pointer to how successful that is as a strategy.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:27


Yes Telekom, with Riis and Jan

Martin Balk

posted by Mart0023 [23 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:28


I'd like nothing more than to see bradly work for froome in the 2013 tour, I think the route suits froome better so not only does it seem like the right tactic its the honorable thing after he laid out for brad last year.

posted by mrchrispy [413 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:31


Lemond and Hinault. That was very friendly

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:34


Just makes the team look a bit chaotic and not all agreed about the goals. Besides, if Brad goes for the Giro, is he going to feel that great in July?

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:34


Yeah, it's happened a few times. Bjarne Riis & Jan Ullrich on Team Telekom in '97 is one. But most famously, on the La Vie Claire team in 1986. In '85 Greg Lemond put his aspirations aside to help Bernard Hinault to his 5th TdF title (he really needed him too). After the race Hinault stated publicly that the following year he would work for Lemond. When it came to the crunch in '86 he kind of changed his mind and it got really messy...

Read "Slaying the Badger" by Richard Moore on the subject. My favourite cycling book of all time. Brilliant.

posted by Mr. Rossi [37 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:42


It will be interesting to see who gets the number one on their back as team leader....OR Does Wiggo get it automatically by being this next year?

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:43


That worked well for Astana in 2009 (or are we not allowed to mention the A-word? Well, any of the A-words)
Plain Face

posted by Arno du Galibier [46 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:49


Roche and Visentini were great pals too, so I've heard

posted by Sadly Biggins [271 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:54


Gkam84 wrote:
It will be interesting to see who gets the number one on their back as team leader....OR Does Wiggo get it automatically by being this next year?

Yep. Wiggo will be on the start line whatever happens (barring injury, god forbid) and wearing no 1 as the current champ.

I suspect this is Wiggins being a little provocative.

If DB and co decide the best game plan is Froome, Wiggo will ride for Froome but he'll be plan B in case anything happens to Froome. Sky wont go for 2 leaders from the start - partly because that's doomed to fail and also because its not a crystal clear plan. They won this year with a single plan - 1 leader, 1 priority, and they stuck to it irrespective of Froome going a bit Fenton, and irrespective of some of the sprints for Cav.

posted by Sam1 [220 posts]
13th December 2012 - 12:57


Lets be honest - Wiggo is going to the TDF and he will go as team leader which for me is the correct deicion.

Yes its going to put Chris's nose out of joint but bottom line is Wiggo is the tour champion.

They will either tell Chris its a joint leadership and lets see how it goes day by day on the road.

For me it should be Chris going for the Giro - he is more likely to win that than the Vuelta. Once he gets a grand tour win under his belt then he can have a crack at winning TDF will full support of team.

If he doesnt like it he will have to leave Sky and there are hardly any teams that could afford him.

posted by NeilXDavis [118 posts]
13th December 2012 - 13:40


This feels a bit like de ja vu. Were we all not having similar discussion last year about Cav and Brad going for 2 jerseys in the TDF?
When did it last happen?
Will it cause chaos in the team etc?
Will it not take the focus off somewhere else?
Big fan of team sky e.t.c but does feel a bit "soap opera" sometimes

posted by fretters [39 posts]
13th December 2012 - 14:31


Perhaps they think that they can be so far ahead of the rest that they can fight it out between them? That's what happened in '86 and it made for a great race.
Just read Wiggo's book and the chapter about Froome in the TDF is entitled 'Under Attack'; it makes it pretty clear that Froome is a bit naive as regards race tactics and isn't great at following team orders.
It could be interesting....

posted by pwake [367 posts]
13th December 2012 - 14:46


'its the honorable thing after he laid out for brad last year.'

Nothing of the sort. Wiggins is team leader and Froome isn't.

posted by andyp [1371 posts]
13th December 2012 - 14:47


andyp wrote:
'its the honorable thing after he laid out for brad last year.'

Nothing of the sort. Wiggins is team leader and Froome isn't.

…unless Froome has already been told he will lead the Tour team, which was the impression DB gave a couple of weeks ago. I feel for Froome, he must be getting that Lemond/Hinault sinking feeling.

posted by sorebones [132 posts]
13th December 2012 - 15:07


I think Wiigins should go full-bore to win the Giro and support Froome in the Tour. I think it is more impressive to win different Grand Tours and a couple of classics say, than say 2 or 3 TDF. If Wig won the giro and vuelta then something like Paris Roubaix his palmares would be very special. Multiple TDF wins are over-rated.

posted by armitage shanks [6 posts]
13th December 2012 - 15:15


'Multiple TDF wins are over-rated.' ????


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
13th December 2012 - 16:53


armitage shanks wrote:
Multiple TDF wins are over-rated.

maybe if you get your tally up to 7

posted by Metjas [349 posts]
13th December 2012 - 17:50


I think he knows deep down that Froome is the obvious choice as number 1 for the TdF due to the course but we will have to see how their fitness is and who is in form before any definitive answer can be given about team leader.

To be honest i think the pair of them acting together with the team would destroy all the rest of the GC candidates including Contador and J-Rod as this years TdF proved.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3237 posts]
13th December 2012 - 18:07


Wiggo was strong in 2011 then crashed out. He has to be there to compete. Two heads... etc. First to crack on the mountain plays backup.

Anyway we need both of them in case Schumacher takes one of them out at the hairpin. Oh, wait... wrong forum.

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1815 posts]
13th December 2012 - 18:10


+1 for 'Slaying the Badger'. Just finished reading it and I highly recommend it. While times change and personalities are different, two into one is always a difficult equation.

Just get out there.

posted by Sniffer [233 posts]
13th December 2012 - 18:13


Either it's an elaborate publicity hype for the new kit launch or Wiggins landed on his head too hard last month.

His chances to win the TDF twice were 2011 and 2012. I had a lot of respect for his decision to repay the favour and help Froome win in 2013 and try for the Giro himself.

Now Brad's gone all Badger and thinks he can do it once more with an resentful team sitting on his wheel? No way.

If Contador can't pull off both tours in one year on the Spanish steak diet - Wiggins certainly can't on power meters and Tenerife training. You need a team around you who believe in you. I think the Sky riders might believe it's Froome's time to shine.

Worse case scenario? We'll have another tedious summer of Froome v Wiggins cat fights all over Twitter as they slug it out - and when the dust more likely than not both will come away empty handed.

I hope Uncle Fester is bending Bradley's ear right now. I would be.

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

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1220 posts]
13th December 2012 - 18:28


I see no reason why Team Sky can't take Wiggo and Froomie to TDF, last year with cav and his mate bernie plus the injury to sivtsov, wiggo and froome only working in a final kms of mountains, TT and of course wiggo's lead out, they had a lot of mileage on only a few men.

if you have wiggo and froome as 1 and 2 rest of riders could be, porte, thomas, EBH, stannard, uran, henao (always come together) cataldo/kiriyenka

this is clearly a dream team and they'll spread these riders across the season for different goals, but look at that squad if they were to focus on GC

Shut up legs

posted by paulmac [10 posts]
13th December 2012 - 18:30


This has nothing whatsoever to do with whose name will be first on the teamsheet.

Sunday is SPOTY. Wiggins has been off the front pages ever since he got home from hospital and got back on the bike. This new story is nothing more and nothing less than a ploy to get him back into the public (including the cycling public)'s consciousness ahead of Sunday night's vote.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1249 posts]
14th December 2012 - 11:46


I think its a good way to ensure the competition have to make guesses. By openly stating "I'm doing this and he's doing that", the competition have been given plenty time to plan. Now they have to build in some guesses, are we racing Froome or Wiggins or both? Thinking

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
14th December 2012 - 11:47


Wiggins deserves another shot at the TDF he should be the main leader of the Sky Team.

posted by Mostyn [430 posts]
14th December 2012 - 12:19


This will make the Tour even better. Two riders for the same team who will be working together but also want to win themselves. Come on Bradley!

Giant Rob.
King of the East Midlands

posted by Giant Rob [60 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:47


I am sure that having Froome in front of him breaking the wind, and (metaphorically) having Froome breathing down his neck both helped to drive Wiggins on to victory in the last tour. It was a perfect combination of cooperation and competition, but I feel it worked because Wiggins was the only captain, and not necessarily because Wiggins was the captain.

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [146 posts]
15th December 2012 - 3:55