Home
Team Sky supremo identifies unique chance to grow cycling at all levels in Britain; and says the route suits Froome

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford says that next year's Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire is a chance to further grow cycling in Britain and that the inclusion of just one time trial stage is to defending champion Chris Froome's advantage, given his climbing strengths.

He acknowledges, however, that the 101st edition of the race, which starts in Yorkshire in July and is billed as the toughest Tour start in more than 30 years, will be difficult to control and it is therefore difficult to predict how it will pan out.

Speaking to road.cc after today's presentation of the route of the 2014 race at the Palais des Congres in Paris, Brailsford said:

"From a British perspective, you can’t look beyond the fact that the race is starting in Britain. That is the big, unique thing for us next year.

"Obviously, there’s one part of us that has to think about how do we win the race, but the other part of course is what do we do as a British team, British Cycling, the British cycling community and the sport to capitalise on the fact that this brilliant event is coming to Britain.

"I think we should use it to maintain and even grow all levels of the sport in the country. That’s the biggest challenge.

"A race is a race - that’s my initial reaction."

This time last year, when the route of July's 100th editon of the Tour was unveiled, Brailsford was clear that Froome would be Sky's leader in the 2013 race.

Even as late as May this year, 2012 Tour winner Sir Bradley Wiggins said that he wanted to defend his title, at odds with the official line coming from the Sky camp.

His early withdrawal from the Giro d'Italia and the subsequent confirmation that an injury would preclude his selection for the Tour would be viewed as some as a convenient expedience on Sky's part to resolve intra-team rivalry.

But while Froome has enjoyed a stellar 2013, Wiggins has had a difficult year, the high point being his victory in the Tour of Britain last month.

“You’ve got to take things at this moment in time. And at this moment in time, there would be no reason to think that Chris wouldn’t be the leader,” said Brailsford.

“We’ll go away, we’ll analyse the demands of this event, what it takes to win it and all of the riders that we have on the team, and choose the team that we believe will be able to compete most fruitfully for the win.

“It will be based on the best riders who fill the best roles to win the race.

“There’s a lot of climbing, which I think theoretically suits us, Chris is a better climber than he is a time trialler, so he can capitalise hopefully in the mountain sections. He’s got the time trial to then hopefully rely on as well.

“But I think what it will do is ensure that it’s an opportunistic kind of race,” he went on.

During the 2012 Tour de France Froome, who had lost time on the opening road stage due to a late puncture, gained time on rivals during the two individual time trials, both won by Wiggins.

In July, he finished second to Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tony Martin in the Stage 11 time trial to Mont Saint Michel.

Froome, who took Olympic bronze at London 2012 behind Wiggins and Martin in the same discipline, won the 100th Tour’s second individual time trial from Embrun to Chorges.

But Brailsford doesn’t see the comparative lack of racing against the clock as a handicap to Froome’s chances next year.

“I think a time trial at the end of the Tour, rather than at the start, is a very different proposition,” he explained.

“It’s really difficult if you’re tired and your form’s on the way down, by the end of a Grand Tour that will impact on the time trial performance.

“So it won’t necessarily be just normal, fresh, everybody will do the time trial [at the start of the Tour], it will be in the condition they are in at the end of the Tour, how they will do in the time trial.

“So that’s got to be taken into the equation too,” he added.

 

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.

9 comments

Avatar
mikeprytherch [223 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

"inclusiojn of just one time trial stage is to defending champion Chris Froome's advantage, given his climbing strengths"

Is he on the same planet as everybody else ? did he not watch how Froome took time out of all his main climbing rivals in the time-trials, can somebody explain why this is to Froome's advantage ?

Avatar
pwake [428 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
mikeprytherch wrote:

"inclusiojn of just one time trial stage is to defending champion Chris Froome's advantage, given his climbing strengths"

Is he on the same planet as everybody else ? did he not watch how Froome took time out of all his main climbing rivals in the time-trials, can somebody explain why this is to Froome's advantage ?

Exactly! Where do they find these people? This Brailsford guy obviously has no idea what he's talking about...

Avatar
sm [405 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Hard to see the Grand Depart being anything but massively huge! Three stages in the UK. Wow, somebody wipe this dribble from chin!

Avatar
Guyz2010 [304 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I love the TDF and will always follow it, however after reading the above it's seems its and exhibition and a race rather than a pure race.
Sky's choices seem to indicate the same too. I not so sure really what to think.

Avatar
onthebummel48 [32 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

The TDF has always been part spectacle and part race since its inception - after all it was designed to help an ailing newspaper. Nothing new in the exhibition aspect I'm afraid...just enjoy it!

Avatar
Bhachgen [116 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

All professional sport is part "exhibition". If there was no spectacle there would be no spectators and therefore no sponsors. So it pays the organisers and participants to increase the spectacle and therefore attract more spectators.

It's not just confined to cycling. Just enjoy it!

Avatar
timbola [248 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Let us hope that Nibali definitely rides the TdF - he will add an extra dimension and increase the competition.
I am really excited to see the Tour in Britain - it will be ace !

Avatar
Guyz2010 [304 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Bhachgen wrote:

All professional sport is part "exhibition". If there was no spectacle there would be no spectators and therefore no sponsors. So it pays the organisers and participants to increase the spectacle and therefore attract more spectators.

It's not just confined to cycling. Just enjoy it!

Agreed but it does seem the exhibition bit is becoming more relevant than the race from what I see. Yes I love to see it but like pretty much every top sport its manipulated somewhat.

Avatar
jarredscycling [456 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

The toughest start in 30 years should be a great one for the host country. Come on USA let's get a Tour Grand Depart!!!!