Would you pick Bradley Wiggins for your Tour de France team? Sky has to choose between three days of publicity and three weeks of performance.

Bradley Wiggins’s omission from Sky’s Tour de France team is sensational in light of the fact the race starts in the UK. But then what role would he play in a team lead by a rider that he doesn’t get on with, and has no loyalty towards?

We weigh up the reasons for and against taking Wiggo to the 2014 Tour de France.

FOR
Strength: Wiggins is one of the strongest riders in the peloton. Having that sort of firepower in the team is essential, especially in light of how many of Sky’s riders fell off the radar last year when the race hit the Pyrenees.

UK start: Not only is he Britain’s most decorated cyclist, he’s also the most popular. His presence for the Grand Depart in Yorkshire will be an enormous draw for fans and his sponsor whose reason for putting money in to cycling was to get bums on saddles. Wiggins does that.

Local route: Wiggins lives in Eccleston, the route of stage two goes through Hebden Bridge, approximately 37 miles from his front door. It will never go so close during his career.

Distraction: With the media swirling around Wiggins in the opening stages, the pressure will be off Froome – at least for a short while. Wiggins is unrivalled in interviews. He can always be relied upon to come up with something memorable, though not necessarily always appropriate.

Nationality: Sky is a British team, Wiggins is one Britain’s greatest riders, the Tour is starting in Britain.

Work for others: One of the most iconic images from the 2012 Tour was that of Wiggins in yellow leading Mark Cavendish in the world champs jersey on to the Champs Elysees for the sprint. Wiggins can and has worked for others.

AGAINST
Frosty: Wiggins and Froome do not get on. While it is not necessarily a prerequisite that all riders are mates, a frosty atmosphere on the team bus for three weeks wouldn’t help.

Commitment: In light of the fact the two don’t get on, would Wiggins put 100 per cent effort in to working for Froome for three weeks? It’s hard, if not impossible, to be motivated to put yourself on the line for someone you don’t particularly like. Especially as he’s now got one eye on the track in Glasgow.

Mountains: Wiggins looked good in California, but wasn’t up against any pure climbers.  With a fair amount of track work under his belt in recent months Wiggins’s climbing is not good enough for him to be a mountain domestique at the Tour. Therefore his help against the likes of Contador would be limited. That would leave him doing the real donkey work for Sky in the first 100km of the stages, for which a rider like Vasil Kiryienka would be better.

What’s the point? If Wiggins was going to the Tour just to fulfill a domestique role on the flat when the TV cameras aren’t watching, what is the point? It doesn’t further his career or create any interest.

Three weeks not three days. As good as the UK grand depart will be, it is only three days of a three week race. Wiggins’s non appearance in Yorkshire will be forgotten by the time the race hits the mountains.

Work for others: Wiggins rarely rides for others. In 2009 with Garmin he had committed to riding for Tyler Farrar in the final Tour sprint. When it came to the final kilometres he was no where to be seen. Rod Ellingworth said in his biography that they didn’t know whether or not Wiggins was going to ride for Cavendish at the 2011 world championships. In the end he did, but Wiggins doesn’t make a habit of working for others.

  • Andy Reid

    One last comment. Ask Cavendish about the 2008 olympics and if wiggo gave his all for Cav. He didn’t. Wiggo only rides if there is something in it for him

  • Oldyfart

    Sir Bradley Wiggins, the first Briton to win the Tour de France, also
    attended the flower market close to Notre Dame Cathedral, in the centre
    of the city.

    He attended with a team of charity cyclists who are travelling
    from Brussels to London, via Paris, to raise money for Help for
    Heroes.

    What no Froomey?

    • aj

      Oh, that cycling foundation that Froome has set up in Kenya. I suppose that doesn’t matter!

      A lot of wealthy folk, (Mr Wiggins) donate to charities in order to cut their tax bills. rightly or wrongly this happens throughout sport! This is about a bike race though, not raising money for charity, not being great at interviews, not likability. Teams want results and it appears, the best team for Sky to achieve the yellow for a 3rd year is without Wiggins.

  • ian franklin

    Wewantwiggo is now on Facebook. Hope you all sign up and LIKE!!!!!

  • ian franklin

    Froome is being misguided by his girl friend who is controlling his PR and these type of decisions. It is she who has a grudge against Wiggo because of that incident in 2012. Problem with this woman is that she does not now this sport and did not understand the reactions at the time. She is ruining Froome and spoiling Wiggo’s career. She is a meddler who is best kept out of this. I used to love Froome but the fact that he relies on this woman for his decisions just shows how mentally weak he is. I hope Contador rolls him over in the Tour. My prediction for the Tour podium> 1. Contador, 2. Rua Costa and 3. Nibali. I’ve lost interest in Sky and I’ve lost interest in Froome. Shame. He could have shown himself as a sporting gentleman who understands the sport in which he is involved. Bye Bye Froome. I’ve had enough of your stupidity.

    • Trefor Jones

      Absolutely Spot on – when did we last see Froome doing charity events as Brad is doing today in France with the D-Day veterans but then when you live in Monoco you do so for selfish tax reasons alone. Brailsford needs to wake up and realise that Froome will never be the first British TdF winner and Brad should be given this opportunity in place of Froome for BSkyB the commercial opportunities are far greater with Brad regardless of the outcome and thats the No1 reason for sponsorship

      • Andy Reid

        Sky want to win bike races. Wiggo can’t do it without Froome. Froome didn’t need Wiggo last year. And stop whinning to the bbc because you don’t get your own way

        • Trefor Jones

          Andy you seem to forget Froome needed Riche Porte last year to give him that gell from his team car when no such support was in theory allowed. Had he not had this it is highly likely he would have lost minutes not just the 20 seconds the commissionaires penalised him – not a dissimilar situation to Wiggins the previous year when his concentration went and Froome charged off. Compared to previous years Porte is seriously short of short of top class road exposure yet Froome and it appears Brailsford as well are happy to keep him in the team rather than accept a seriously inform Wiggins. Sky have to have a plan B within the teams performance and cannot afford another poor performance as seen in the Giro. Strong team management with the ability to instil discipline would allow Wiggins to be a member of the that team – bring Sean Yates back!!

          • aj

            hang on, Wiggins isn’t good enough, simple! Judge on results, I’m pretty sure Sir Dave knows more about the about the sport than you. Oh and of course Froome will never be the first TdF winner, that’s like saying “when will Buzz Aldrin learn, he will never be the first man on the moon!”

  • CB

    Just shows Froome is holding a grudge and is childishly using his status to make sure Wiggins stays home. Very disappointing, something to keep in mind when singing the praises of athletes.

    • Andy Reid

      Like holding back bonuses for a year?

  • http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/ Simon R

    Am I the only person who thinks Froome rode selflessly for Wiggins in 2012? The one time he stupidly attacked he immediately sat up when he was told to. He then struggled to pace himself to Wiggins’ speed in the mountains, which is not an easy thing to do when the pressure is on.

    • Andy Reid

      Agree totally

      • aj

        Agree

  • simon

    I didn’t notice froome playing loyal team mate in 2012. Nor with the back stabbing in his autobiography. Team sky or perhaps just sky. Leaving a strong rider behind is shortsighted. At least brad will get ride a decent bike next season instead of the ugliest looking two wheel eyesore in the history of ever. Happy days

  • Oli Barker

    If he was to be selected for the tour his climbing would be where it was in 2012. If that isn’t a decent thing for Sky to have up their sleeves I don’t know what is. What happens if Porte falters? He is way down on racing this season due to injuries, and it’s very risky to assume he will be where he was last year. Wiggins not being in the team has nothing to do with his form or his abilities, there is absolutely no doubt he would contribute massively. Let’s not forget that Froome is the one proven to not ride for Wiggins in the tour, not the other way round. Risky policy.

  • anthony

    First British winner of the TdF! TdF starts in UK! He’s on top form! The public of the UK would love to see him riding!

    • http://www.medwaytri.com Paul

      100% agree!

    • Andy Reid

      The public would love to see him ride but Sky pay his wages. If he can’t/won’t be a team player, you can’t take him to a 3 week grand tour!

    • lee

      a past winner…. but the TdF is not a 3 day race and its not as flat as the 2012 edition

  • Claire Read

    Good points, well made, with the possible exception of this:

    “What’s the point? If Wiggins was going to the Tour just to fulfill a domestique role on the flat when the TV cameras aren’t watching, what is the point? It doesn’t further his career or create any interest.”

    I actually think that it would be a tremendous boost for Wiggins to do this, and protect him against the argument that he doesn’t play well with others (one I frequently make, and which would have led me to leave him out of the team). It’s striking that we’re still talking about him leading out Cav on the Champs – because I think he’s fair to say in most instances he doesn’t seem to care that much about anyone other than himself.

    And if we assume that he went and didn’t appear 100% committed to the cause: well, then, that’s sure to create interest. Contador/Armstrong? LeMond/Hinault?

  • http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/ Simon R

    Would you select Wiggins if you were picking Sky’s Tour team?

    • Alan Benn

      No. All the points made above are valid. I believe he has said he doesn’t see himself as a GC contender nowadays so a super-domestique role would suit him, but not serving Chris Froome.

    • Álvaro Guimarães

      Yes. Froome is the one who could not ride for Wiggins and SKY doesn’t have anyone with Wiggins form this year.

    • Craig Richardson

      Brad will need to be seen to subvert his chances in favour of Chris if he is to be included in the team. With the style of riding exhibited by Froome and Contador in the Dauphine the team cannot needs to operate as a unit in support of a single leader and Brad would be an awesome addition in support of that goal.