Chris Froome rejects Bradley Wiggins Team Sky leadership bid

Chris Froome insists he will lead Team Sky's Tour de France charge this summer despite team-mate Bradley Wiggins claiming he wants to defend his title.

Froome, who was runner-up to Wiggins last year, was told he would be Sky's main man this summer, with Wiggins prioritising the Giro d'Italia.

But Wiggins said on Monday he wants to win both of the Grand Tour events.

Froome replied: "I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing."

Who will lead Team Sky?

Bradley Wiggins: "I think the decision will be made probably in the last three days before we get to the Tour. I think whoever is in the best shape should be."

Chris Froome: "I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing. At no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question."

He added: "At no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question."

Kenya-born Froome, 27, supported fellow Briton Wiggins, 33, in last year's Tour success but seemed set to lead Team Sky's bid for honours in 2013.

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford indicated as much last November.

But this week, when asked if a decision had been made on who would lead Team Sky in France, Wiggins said: "Not yet, no. I think that decision will be made probably in the last three days before we get to the Tour.

"I think whoever is in the best shape should be really. It is too early to decide but we are both, as we have now for the last six months, been going towards that same goal. Someone will get the nod."

But in reply, Froome released a statement reading: "There has been much speculation regarding the leadership for Team Sky at the Tour de France this year. I have made it clear that winning the Tour would be my main objective for 2013.

"Attempting to win the Tour de France, is a massive undertaking and will take total commitment from each and every team member.

"The Tour team has yet to be selected but with the depth of talent that we have at Team Sky, I have no doubt that the strongest and most willing riders will be there to support me."

Froome has won the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and Tour de Romandie titles this year, while Wiggins has been focusing on preparing for the Giro, which will start on Saturday in Naples.

Only seven riders have won the Giro and Tour in the same year. The late Italian rider Marco Pantani was the last in 1998, while Ireland's Stephen Roche achieved the rare feat in 1987.

Italy's legendary rider Fausto Coppi was the first in 1949 and he also did the double in 1952. France's Jacques Anquetil won both races in 1964.

Like Coppi, Belgian Eddy Merckx (1970 and 72), Bernard Hinault of France (1982 and 85) and Spaniard Miguel Indurain (1992 and 93) also did the double twice.