Sir Bradley Wiggins says he is "gutted" at the prospect of missing this year's Tour de France, which starts in Yorkshire four weeks tomorrow. Wiggins, who in 2012 became the first Briton to win cycling's biggest race, told BBC Breakfast that "as things stand" he will not be at the start in Leeds - a situation that will change only if illness or injury prevents defending champion Chris Froome from racing.
Speaking to the programme’s presenters Charlie Stayt and Sally Nugent, Wiggins said: “As it stands I won’t be there.
“The team is focused around Chris Froome, the defending champion, who’s got a great chance of winning his second Tour, and it’s been decided that as things stand they’re going to base the team around him.
“So unfortunately I won’t be there but there will be plenty to cheer about – Mark Cavendish has got a great chance of taking the yellow jersey on day one, and it’s going to be a huge celebration.”
Stayt asked Wiggins, given his accomplishments, why Sky wouldn’t want him in the team.
“A lot of it is you have the leader, then eight guys supporting that leader,” Wiggins said. “A lot of times the guys who support the leader are almost good enough to win in their own right, as we saw a couple of years ago with myself and Chris.
“Chris has gone on to win the Tour and as defending champion has a say in who he has around him and he’s had guys who go to all his training camps and build-up races throughout the year, his group of riders.
“I’ve been following a different path, I went to Paris-Roubaix earlier in the year and tried to attempt something different there, I went to the Tour of California a month ago and won there.
“So we’ve been on different paths and as it gets closer to the Tour, Dave Brailsford, the manager, decides who’s best fitted to do that job.
“Myself and Chris haven’t raced all year together," he added.
Stayt put it to Wiggins: “You’re being very diplomatic about this but it’s hard to think from the outside you’re not absolutely gutted?”
“I’m gutted. I’ve worked extremely hard for this all winter, and right through the summer up to California and winning that, I feel I’m in the form I was in two years ago at the 2012 Tour de France.
“But I also understand that cycling is a team sport and at the end of the day about the team winning and that team is Team Sky and Chris is the defending champion.”
“There is this race on now in France and barring any injury to Chris there if he crashes or whatever then there will still be a chance I could come into the team, as the set-up of the team changes.
"But as it stands, Chris staying fit and healthy, then the team will roll out of Harrogate [sic].”
Asked if he was angry at Froome, whose autobiography is published this week, questioning his mental strength at the 2012 Tour, Wiggins said: “Not really. Books get written all the time particularly in this day and age in cycling and there seems to be a different book out every week.
“It’s two years ago now, everyone has a different view on how things happened.
“I think one of the things with the Tour de France is you’re on the road for one month with a group of guys and you’re going to have different emotions, different days, different mood swings.
“A very good friend of mine from the rugby world summed it up, he said ‘I don’t know how you do it, I can do it for 90 minutes, I can’t do it for four weeks’ – so I think that sums it up for me,” he concluded.
Wiggins’ contract with Sky expires at the end of the season, a fact not lost on others within the sport.
How can Bradley Wiggins to end up being in yellow jersey? Sign with @tinkoff_saxo and wear all year long
— Oleg Tinkov (@olegtinkov) June 6, 2014
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.