• Tour de France

Brailsford insists Wiggins has Team Sky future

ESPN staff
June 27, 2014
Wiggins will miss the tour for the second successive year © AP

Sir Dave Brailsford insists Bradley Wiggins is not being forced out of Team Sky after confirming his omission from the nine-man line-up for next month's Tour de France.

Wiggins, 34, who won the yellow jersey two years ago but missed last year's tour through injury, is out of contract at the end of the year and has said he is considering his future after anticipating he would miss out on the Tour.

But Brailsford, Sky's team manager, said: "It has been a golden decade for cycling and Bradley and although he has not been selected for this race he is still a key member of Team Sky.

"We'd like to think that there's a future for Bradley. On this occasion he is going to miss out, but it's one race, there is still the future, he is a great champion, and there is a lot more racing in Bradley Wiggins yet. We would hope he extends his contract."

Chris Froome, who was Wiggins' deputy two years' ago, spearheaded Team Sky to a second successive victory in 2013 and will once again be the lead rider for this year's race, the 101st edition, which begins in Yorkshire on July 5th.

Wiggins joined Team Sky in 2010 and will focus in the coming weeks on preparing to race for England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where he will ride for the track team.

His future for next year's races remains clouded by his Tour de France disappointment but Australian team Orica-GreenEdge are said to interested in giving him a seat.

Brailsford claimed the decision to omit Wiggins was not taken lightly. "It was an incredibly tough decision," he said. "Bradley has been a great champion and has been at the forefront of the cycling explosion in this country but my job is to formulate the best possible team at this present moment.

"In elite sport, selection is one of the most difficult parts. We start by looking at what's the outcome we want to achieve - we've got to try to win. You build a team based on evidence, based on logic - you try to take the emotion out of it.

"My job is to look at the best probabilities for trying to win, picture somebody on that podium with the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees and then I work back from there."

Despite winning the British time-trial championship in Wales last weekend, Wiggins has struggled for form and fitness over the past twelve months. He was overlooked for Sky's Criterium du Dauphine team and then withdrew from the Tour du Suisse through injury following a crash.

His Tour team omission affords Froome the opportunity to lead from the front once again and Brailsford has opted for a support team of strong climbers. Australia's Richie Porte will act as Froome's right-hand man with Geraint Thomas one of two Britons included.

The team also has a vast amount of experience with Spaniard Xabier Zandio, 37, the oldest member of the squad and compatriots Mikel Nieve and David Lopez selected for their "ability on the slopes".

Belarusian Vasil Kriyienka, Austraia's Bernhard Eisel and Danny Pate from America complete the Team Sky line-up.

The 2014 Tour de France, after starting in Leeds, makes its way to London on 7th July to conclude the British leg of the tour.

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