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Team Sky poised for rare pairing of previous winners from same country

When the Tour de France rolls out of Leeds on July 5, Sir Bradley Wiggins says he will fill whatever role Team Sky asks in order to be on that start line.

After making history as the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012, Sir Bradley missed the 2013 edition because of injury. Team-mate Chris Froome took the win, and Wiggins is determined to line up next to the defending champion this year.

Sir Bradley and Team Sky are currently on a training camp in Majorca. He will start his season at the four-day Challenge Majorca race series on February 9.

Wiggins told Sky Sports News: “I’d love to be back at the Tour de France. That’s the long-term goal - to be part of that successful team.

“I missed it last year and had to watch it on the TV. When you see it from the outside then you see just how great the Tour de France is.”

“Obviously there’s a huge opportunity with it starting in the UK this year. Coming back as a former winner and it being there is fantastic.”

If Sky fields both Sir Bradley and Chris Froome, it will be the first time a team has rolled out two Tour de France winners from the same country since Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain rode for Banesto in 1993.

Sir Bradley said: “To be back at the Tour de France, back in the team in whatever capacity alongside the defending champion Chris Froome, two British winners in the Tour starting in the UK - it’s going to be quite an experience.”

“At this stage, all my winter training has been about hitting the ground running in the early races. I want to get off to a flying start as I did in 2012.

“I want to perform well in the early season. I’ve got some good goals early season, building up to the Tour of California in May. I want to start performing well out there in America.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.