Focus on Froome set to push Wiggins out of Tour
Published 07/06/2014 | 02:30
Bradley Wiggins has said he will almost certainly miss the Tour de France and could be forced to leave Team Sky if he wants to compete in the race again.
Wiggins became the Tour's first British winner in 2012 and was a year later succeeded by Chris Froome, who will lead Team Sky in the 101st Tour, which begins in Leeds, after establishing himself as the British squad's lead rider.
Froome and Wiggins were last week selected to compete in separate Tour warm-up races in the clearest indication yet that Wiggins would not line up on July 5.
"As it stands, I won't be there," Wiggins said. "The team is focused around Chris Froome. I am gutted. I've worked extremely hard for this throughout the winter and up to the summer. I feel I am in the form I was two years ago."
He added: "I also understand that cycling is a team sport and it is all about Team Sky winning and Chris is defending champion."
After a sub-standard 2013, Wiggins is in fine form.
The seven-time Olympic medallist won the Tour of California last month, just weeks after placing an impressive ninth in the one-day classic Paris-Roubaix, held over the cobbles of northern France, which will feature in a key fifth stage of this year's Tour.
"After Paris-Roubaix and California, I was physically ready to go," he said.
"But, over the last few weeks, it gradually became clear that unless something happened to Froome in Dauphine, I will not do the Tour. To be honest, I've had my doubts since April. After Roubaix, I had a bit of hope, but then, after California, I knew that (my team-mates) would be going to altitude and I would not be involved.
"The plan was that Chris and I would both do the Tour, Chris would be the leader and I wanted to play a supporting role. It's obviously disappointing."
And with Team Sky now clearly making Froome their priority for the Tour, Wiggins has admitted he may have to switch teams if he is to have another chance of winning the yellow jersey.
"Having missed it this year on the form I'm in at the moment, then the likelihood is that I'll probably miss out again next year," he said.