Bradley Wiggins wants to defend his Tour de France title

 

Bradley Wiggins wants to defend his Tour de France title despite Team Sky's initial plans to make Chris Froome their team leader in the 2013 race.

But Olympic time-trial winner Wiggins, 32, also said he would support whatever team strategy was ultimately agreed.

Archive: Dave Brailsford picks Chris Froome for 2013 Tour de France success in November

In July, Wiggins, supported by Froome, became the race's first British winner.

"I'm probably going to try and win a second Tour de France, so I don't know, maybe we'll have two leaders," Wiggins told BBC Radio 5 live.

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said in November that "the Tour of Italy would be a very good target for Bradley and leave Froomy then to focus on the Tour de France".

However he admitted that the plans were not "completely signed off" at that point.

"My goal is to win the Tour next year. Whether that is realised or not, I don't know really," Wiggins added.

"How that's going to work with the team I don't know - it's more Dave's problem, really, to worry about.

Analysis

Just when you thought Team Sky's plans for 2013 were sorted - Wiggins for the Giro, Froome for France - the main man chooses an interview on national radio to say 'erm…hold on a mo, are we sure?' This must mean Wiggins is training well, his competitive juices are flowing, and doubts linger over Froome's ability to captain a Tour challenge. The "co-leaders" approach calls to mind Hinault v LeMond in 1986, and Armstrong v Contador in 2009 - it will not be boring.

"It's just how we service both mouths - that's more the problem to figure out."

The 2013 Tour de France course would appear to favour Froome because the time trials in which Wiggins thrives have been reduced from 100km to 65km, with several tough ascents.

When the Tour route was announced in October, Wiggins said it was "more than likely" he would play a supporting role to Froome.

Kenyan-born Froome finished second behind Wiggins in the 2012 Tour de France general classification and looked stronger on occasions in the mountains.

On stage 11 of the race, the 27-year-old was ordered back to assist Wiggins after breaking off the front and later appeared to be held back from launching a challenge for stage 17 by his responsibilities to his team leader.

Mark Cavendish's ambitions to defend the green jersey - awarded to the race's best sprinter - with Team Sky in 2012 had to be sacrificed to help Wiggins's push for the more prestigious yellow.

General classification standings at 2012 Tour de France

  • 1. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) 87 hours, 34 minutes, 41 seconds
  • 2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +3 mins 41 secs
  • 3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) +6:19
  • 4. Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto) +10:15
  • 5. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) +11:04

The Manxman has since decided to leave Team Sky, and Brailsford may have to juggle competing demands once again.

If Wiggins's unorthodox suggestion of having two team leaders was not adopted by Team Sky however, he is adamant that he would work to support Froome.

"Whatever the team strategy is, I'll support that, otherwise you don't take the start line because there will be someone else who is willing to fulfil that job," he added

"It's a case of doing what's asked of you on the day, whatever that decision is."