AFP / Yuzuru Sunada
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner, said Friday that he was “gutted” not to be selected for Team Sky to compete in this year’s race. Wiggins told BBC television that he would not take part in the race he became the first British rider to win, with his team concentrating its efforts on last year’s winner Chris Froome.
“The team is focused around Chris Froome,” the team leader, Wiggins, 34, said. “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 explained. I’ve been working towards that all season. It’s disappointing because it would perhaps have been my last Tour de France,” added Wiggins, who was support rider to Froome last season but did not compete in the Tour de France.
On top of his 2012 triumph, Wiggins has won four Olympic gold medals both on the track and the road. This season the two rivals have been kept apart in warm up races ahead of the Tour which starts in the English city of Leeds on July 5. Wiggins recently won the Tour of California and is set to start the Tour of Switzerland next week as Froome will build up to the Tour with the Dauphiné Libere race which starts on Sunday.
“As it stands, all being well and Chris staying fit and healthy, that’s the team,” added Wiggins. “The past few weeks it’s become progressively clear that apart from something happening to Froome in the Dauphine, I won’t do the Tour. “The plan since the worlds last year, in an ideal world, was that Chris and I would both do the Tour.
“I understood the role that I would play, that Chris would be the leader and would try to win his second Tour and I was 100percent behind that. “And then during the Paris-Roubaix, Shane Sutton (Team Sky’s new boss) said in the press that I needed to fight really hard to win a place, it was now Chris’s team and Chris obviously had a say.”
“The option that they (Sky) gave me was to return to track, to focus on the Commonwealth Games end of July. So for the moment I’m going to do the individual pursuit and team with a view to the Olympic Games in Rio. And then I hope to race the Vuelta (Tour of Spain). “Personally it’s disappointing but you can also understand why they have chosen this team.”
Wiggins, who had been the lead rider since the formation of the Sky Team in 2010, said he was now considering his future.
“For the moment I’m considering all the options but as things stand I still haven’t any offer from Sky. “It’s now quite clear next year that if I want to do the Tour, it is likely that I’ll have to leave Sky.”