Wiggins snubbed as Froome leads Team Sky pack in Tour de France

York Press: Wiggins snubbed as Froome leads Team Sky pack in Tour de France Wiggins snubbed as Froome leads Team Sky pack in Tour de France

Sir Bradley Wiggins will not ride for Team Sky in this year’s Tour de France, team principal Sir David Brailsford has confirmed.

The 2012 champion had long since indicated that he would not be included in a squad built around Chris Froome, who last year succeeded him as yellow jersey winner.

Froome will be supported by trusted lieutenant Richie Porte in a team also featuring Wiggins’ fellow Great Britain Olympian Geraint Thomas.

Mikel Nieve, Bernhard Eisel, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Danny Pate and Xabier Zandio complete the line-up.

The Tour starts with the Grand Depart in Yorkshire next Saturday and continues until the traditional Champs Elysees climax on July 27.

Stage one is from Leeds to Harrogate, with the second stage from York to Sheffield the following day.

Brailsford said: “Team Sky returns to the Tour de France with the reigning champion and we are looking to win the yellow jersey for the third time in three years and a second consecutive time for Chris Froome.

“We know how hard it is to win this race and that it takes a totally focused and carefully constructed team, with the right blend of riders, to give us the best chance of victory. Each rider has been selected to play a specific role which will involve total sacrifice and commitment to the team’s ambition of reaching the Champs Elysees in yellow.”

Froome has been in good form this season, winning both the Tour of Oman and Tour de Romandie and leading the Criterium du Dauphine until he was hampered by a crash on stage six.

He kept the lead that day, Thomas playing a key role in getting him back into the pack, but was overhauled the following day and eventually finished 12th.

Porte helped Froome to victory last year and, along with Kiryienka and Lopez, will have a key role to play in the climbing sections.

Zandio and Nieve are also seen as climbing specialists while Pate and especially Eisel will be expected to push the pace along in the flat and cobbled sections.

Brailsford admitted leaving out Wiggins was “a very, very tough decision”.

He said: “In elite sport, selection of a team is one of the most difficult parts, there’s no doubt about it.

“Bradley’s been a great champion, is a great champion - he’s been fundamental to the growth of cycling in this country. But my job is to look at the best probabilities to try to win. A star team will always beat a team of stars.”

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