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Confident Wiggins has support to win Tour de France

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Geraint Thomas | 15:23 UK time, Friday, 22 June 2012

There were no surprises in the nine-man squad named by Team Sky for the Tour de France.

Team leader Bradley Wiggins is in the form of his life and he will have fellow Brit Chris Froome helping him in the mountains. Froome was amazing at the Vuelta a Espana last year when he finished second and he is coming back into that sort of form.

Michael Rogers and Richie Porte are the other main guys for the climbs while Kanstantsin Siutsou is an amazing domestique who will ride all day, carrying bottles and food.

Mark Cavendish is going to want some sort of help in trying to defend the green jersey. Edvald Boasson Hagen will probably ride to look after him at the finish and Bernie Eisel will be with him for the entire three weeks. But I can't see the team committing fully.

Rogers has been involved in lead-outs with HTC so he can lend a hand if need be but then it gets tricky to give him another man and sacrifice one for Brad. I'm just glad I'm not team management to be honest.

However, if the guys are riding for Cav, especially during the very stressful first week, it'll be good for Brad too as it means he will be kept at the front of the race, out of trouble.

Cav will have to use his head and use other lead-outs because he's not going to have the same support as sprint rivals Andre Greipel, Matt Goss or Marcel Kittel, although Sky will still be expected to lend a hand in the chase to make sure it's a bunch sprint on the flat days.

It's hard on riders who have missed out like Danny Pate because he has ridden strongly this season, especially in the Paris-Nice. I roomed with him in Australia and got to know him quite well, so I feel for him but it's been a difficult choice because there are a lot of strong riders.

The actual win looks like it is going to be between Brad and last year's winner Cadel Evans but with a three-week race a hell of a lot can happen. Last year Brad was in great shape and he crashed out.


Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins is on the hunt for the Tour de France yellow jersey. Photo: Getty

He's definitely grown into the team leadership role though. The first year the team formed it was tough for him going to races as team leader with the press talking about him going for the Tour win.

This year, whether he's just got better or worked on it, he's grown in confidence. Winning the Dauphine last year and then going to the Vuelta a Espana and finishing third, so soon after breaking his collarbone in the Tour de France, gave him a lot of confidence and the more confident he gets, the better he rides.

He also has such a strong team around him. In the Dauphine it was unbelievable how the team rode. That makes it a lot easier for him too.

This year Brad has won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandie and the Dauphine again. There is a great bond round that group, the core group around Brad, and that helps when it comes to the races.

There is definitely a perception that the peloton see Sky as the strongest team but three weeks is a lot harder to control and stay out of trouble than it is for a week-long race, like the three Brad has won. They are in the best position they can be, though. Brad is in the form of his life and so are all his team-mates.

Going into the Giro d'Italia the team went with a different approach. It was built around Cav and the sprints. We had our two Colombian guys there to go for the general classification but there was no pressure put on them. It wasn't until the final week when the GC was decided and the sprints were more or less over that we all turned our attention to them and they did a great job.

But in the Tour de France the team can't ride it like that. Brad's got to have as much support as possible, he's one of the favourites for a reason so it would be silly not to.

I'll be back with another blog - on the first rest day on Tuesday, 10 July - which will deal with riding in the mountains.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    going to be a very exciting tour this year with real hopes on yellow and green! go team Sky... can't wait for the race to begin

  • Comment number 2.

    Massively excited about Le Tour this year - Team Sky are looking so good and for the first time I think think the whole of Britain will actually be watching. Shame we won't be seeing you grabbing the White Jersey again this year Geraint - but best of luck at the Olympics.

  • Comment number 3.

    Excellent blog and insight into the team workings. Looking forward to the start of the Tour. Go Team Sky!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Really exciting tour in prospect and this time it seems to be a very clean tour.
    I really want Brad to get the GC and with his climbing a real strength now and being so strong in the TT, so long as he does not get injured like last year, I think Sky are so strong, he will do it. Good luck Geraint and I look forward like the rest of the fans to following the tour and your blog.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Excellent insight Geraint.

    I am more excited about this Tour than any before now. Team Sky have done such a great job in bringing Cycling back to the headlines in UK Sport.

    I still think Cav will be good for a few stage wins, perhaps not Green jersey, but if Brad can have a good run and avoid accidents, with the team around him i think he is No1 contender for Yellow jersey.

    Goodluck at the Olympics, but i'm most looking forward to you returning for next years Tour, where i think you yourself could be among GC contenders.

  • Comment number 7.

    this could be a really exciting tour, with a number of GC contenders who will challenge Brad but would have been out of it if Contador and Schleck were there. Tours like this get the mouth watering close mountain finishes with 3 to 5 gc contenders vying for the yellow. Some dropping on the climb and others excelling. oh its gonna be good its gonna be so good this year. Or streaming through the counrtyside to abunch sprint with the big boys going all guns blazing to beat our Manx missile. I think there will be some surprise GC contenders this year who will push Brad and and Cadel - just like Brad did to the then established order in 2009.

  • Comment number 8.

    Will you miss riding it G?

 

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