Tour de France: Sir Bradley Wiggins left out of Team Sky squad led by Chris Froome
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 27/06/14 6:28pm
Sir Bradley Wiggins will not ride next month's Tour de France after being left out of Team Sky's nine-man squad, Sir Dave Brailsford has said.
Wiggins revealed he had been omitted last night following his British national time trial victory in Wales and Team Sky principal Brailsford confirmed the news when unveiling the line-up this morning.
Wiggins, 34, will now turn his attention to next month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where he will compete on the track as well as the road, Team England have announced.
Team Sky will be led at the Tour by Chris Froome, whose bid to win the yellow jersey for the second year in succession will be supported by a squad packed with climbing talent but only one other Briton.
Unveiling the line-up on Sky Sports News, Brailsford said: “It was a very tough decision. Bradley has been a great champion, is a great champion, he has been fundamental to the growth of cycling in this country, but ultimately you have to look at the facts as they stand now.
There is no doubt in my mind that he is the leader of this team for this year's race and everything will be going in to support Chris to try and win the yellow jersey again.
Sir Dave Brailsford
“My job is to look at the best probabilities for trying to win, and picture somebody on that podium with the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees, and then I work back from there.
“On this occasion Bradley 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.”
Despite struggling for form all season, Australia’s Richie Porte will be Froome's chief domestique, while Geraint Thomas will be the second Briton in the team.
Spanish climbers Mikel Nieve and David Lopez will add significant firepower in the mountains, with Belarusia's Vasil Kriyienka, Austria’s Bernhard Eisel, the United States’ Danny Pate and a third Spaniard, Xabier Zandio, completing the line-up.
Of Froome's credentials, Brailsford added: "I think Chris Froome is the best stage-race rider in the world. He won last year and the level of performance he has put together over the last couple of years has been phenomenal.
"The thing about Chris Froome is he can time trial and he can climb, and it is the combination of being one of the world's best climbers and one of the best time triallers together that makes him such a potent force.
"He has got that winning mentality and he is a good leader. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the leader of this team for this year's race and everything will be going in to support Chris to try and win the yellow jersey again."
Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour, put his name forward to fulfil a supporting role for Froome at this year's race during the winter but started his season poorly as he struggled to find form.
Wiggins hopes ended by crash
His campaign came to life at Paris-Roubaix in April, when he finished in an impressive ninth place and showed he could help to shepherd Froome over the cobbled sections of the Tour’s fifth stage.
An overall victory at the Tour of California further championed his cause, but his omission from Team Sky’s Criterium du Dauphine team and subsequent withdrawal from the Tour de Suisse following a crash appeared to signal the end of his Tour hopes.
Following Team Sky's squad announcement, Team England confirmed Wiggins has been called up to their track team for the Commonwealth Games.
Technical director Shane Sutton said: "I'm very happy to be able to welcome Sir Bradley back to the track team for the Commonwealth Games. His addition will be a real morale boost to the rest of the track squad. The decision of who will ride what event will be made nearer the time."
Team Sky’s Tour de France team: Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Chris Froome (GB), Vasil Kiryienka (Blr), David Lopez (Spa), Mikel Nieve (Spa), Danny Pate (USA), Richie Porte (Aus), Geraint Thomas (GB), Xabier Zandio (Spa).