Tour de France: Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford happy with squad selection
Last Updated: 22/07/14 6:02pm
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford insists he is happy with the selection decisions he made ahead of this year's Tour de France.
Brailsford ommitted 2012 winner Sir Bradley Wiggins from the nine-man line-up and instead opted to make Australian rider Richie Porte the squad's Plan B should anything have happened to defending champion Chris Froome.
That turned out to be the case when Froome crashed out of the race on stage five, and although Porte subsequently climbed to second overall, his challenge collapsed dramatically when he lost a total of 13min 40sec to leader Vincenzo Nibali on Friday and Saturday's mountain stages in the Alps, leaving him 15th in the standings.
His demise means Team Sky's two-year domination of the Tour is set to end, but Brailsford was adamant he would make the same choices again.
He told Sky Sports News: "You make decisions on the availability of the information that you have got at the time. At the time, would I make the same decisions? I think the answer to that is yes.
"But I think you can learn, you have got to be humble enough to really take a step back and think carefully about the decisions and what differences could have been made in terms of different information, or coming to it from a different angle."
With Porte now out of the general classification equation, Team Sky's focus has turned to stealing stage wins in the final week of the race. There are three mountain stages in the Pyrenees to come, and Geraint Thomas has already signalled his intention to try to win one of them out of a breakaway.
"There is still a lot to race for," Brailsford added. "It's the biggest bike race in the world, you don't just throw the towel in, you keep on fighting. Whether winning or losing you can still show character, you can be professional, still be disciplined and you can still fight, which is what we will be doing."
I gave got some good ideas about the changes I want to make and then come back next year fighting to get the jersey back.
Sir Dave Brailsford
Brailsford had enjoyed widespread success with both Team Sky and British Cycling, and consequently admitted seeing his two-year grip on the yellow jersey end had been hard to take.
Back next year
However, he is adamant both he and the team will learn from the lessons from this year's Tour and insisted they will be back to bid for a third win in four years at the 2015 race.
He said: " It's not nice when you don't win, and I think not winning is what drives you on. I hate losing really, if I'm honest about it, but it's that emotion that keeps pushing me on.
"But equally, when you take a step back. You can't win everything all of the time, it's not possible, it's not sport. So when you win I think you should win with dignity and then, when it doesn't go your way and you lose, you should lose with dignity.
"We are going to come back even better, bigger and stronger. Back to the drawing board, make some changes I think. I gave got some good ideas about the changes I want to make and then come back next year fighting to get the jersey back."