Team Sky is keeping its faith in Bradley Wiggins with only four more days before Sunday, when the Tour de France finishes in Paris.
“What we said at the start, we are going to go there and make sure he commits 100 percent,” explained team boss, David Brailsford. “If that is good enough for 10th or even 50th – great – because if he can’t do anymore there is not a lot you can do.”
Wiggins was touted as a contender for the Tour de France podium this year. However, he has consistently lost time in mountains: losing six minutes in the Alps and 10 minutes in the first three days of the Pyrenees.
He currently sits 21st overall with the last day in the Pyrenees to race today.
Last year, Wiggins finished fourth overall racing for Jonathan Vaughters team Garmin.
“When you are touted as a potential Tour winner, that just leads to a lot of distraction,” Vaughters said yesterday.
“He can handle athletic pressure, think about the Olympics. You’re sitting there a minute leading up to your start in the Olympic pursuit and the gold medal, there does not exist any more pressure than that in life. That it is a day or two of intense pressure, but this is grinding day after day. I just think that is hard of him.”
Wiggins left Vaughters’ American team at the end of last season to take the unique opportunity of leading a British team at the Tour de France. Sky’s stated goal is to win the Tour de France with a British rider in its first five years and to encourage a million more British people to take to their bikes.
“We have a British team in the Tour; we have some young British riders. Okay, Bradley might not be running fourth, but he is not a million miles away,” Brailsford continued.
“Why did Sky get involved in pro cycling? This idea of getting a million people cycling. Are we inspiring anybody? Are we creating any heroes for the kids on the side of the road?
“The number of British flags and the number of Sky tops – it is phenomenal. I am blown away by that. Certainly, it is working, getting more people involved in cycling.”
Wiggins is encouraged by the support, too, even if he may not show it with his cool exterior. He does crack a smile when he hears the Brits cheering for him every morning at the team bus.
He is encouraged to keep pushing in this Tour de France and for the coming years.
“I’ve just been struggling whenever we get within 4K of the top of these mountains and a lot of that is to do with heat tolerance and altitude,” said Wiggins.
“It’s been the limiting factor and something we can look at next year.”
Tour de France 2010: Latest news
Armstrong has his last go in the Tour
Tour’s points leader Petacchi investigated for doping
Contador issues video apology to Schleck
Millar searches horizon for Eiffel Tower
Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem
Wiggins at 2010 Tour: “I haven’t got it”
Basso wins Tour’s acceptance; podium spot next goal
Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds
Can Cav win without Renshaw?
Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour’s top
Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish’s win
Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour
Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?
Cavendish in a ‘must win’ situation for Tour’s green jersey
Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut
Roche alongside Tour’s top men ahead of Pyrenees
Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?
Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain
Tour de France 2010: Stage reports
Rest day review (July 21)
Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage
Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey
Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win
Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban
Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks
Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour
Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race
Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day
Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head
Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white
Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up
Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour
Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims
Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC
Stage three live coverage: As it happened
Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa
Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters
Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win
Tour de France 2010: Photos
Stage 15 photo gallery
Stage 14 photo gallery
Stage 13 photo gallery
Stage 12 photo gallery
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Tour 2010 wallpaper
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one gallery
Prologue photo gallery
Tour de France 2010: Videos
Stage 16 video highlights
Stage 15 video highlights
Stage 14 video highlights
Stage 13 video highlights
Stage 12 video highlights
Stage 11 video highlights
Stage 10 video highlights
Stage nine video highlights
Stage eight video highlights
Stage seven video highlights
Stage six video highlights
Stage five video highlights
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Prologue video highlights
Tour de France 2010: Race guide
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Official start list, with race numbers
Brits at the Tour 2010
Tout team guide
Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins