25 August 2020

Thomas and Froome missing out on Tour de France team ‘not a negative thing’, says Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins has backed Team Ineos general manager Dave Brailsford’s decision to leave Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome out of the 2020 Tour de France.

Four-time champion Froome has struggled for form since returning from his serious crash last year, with 2018 winner Thomas also failing to show enough pace to make the team.

Thomas (left) and Froome (right) have won the Tour de France in five of the last seven years between them (PA)

And while many were shocked by the move to omit the pair, Wiggins, who won the Tour under Brailsford back in 2012, believes it can be a positive move in the long run.

Speaking on The Bradley Wiggins Show podcast, he said: "I think you probably take it as a given as a previous winner and his [Bernal] status in the team that he will always be selected for the Tour. But this is what makes Dave Brailsford such a good manager and why he’s been so successful really. And I experienced this myself within the team that no one is really bigger than the team and he can take that emotion to one side and select a team purely on his assets and the form guide really.

"They don’t make these decisions lightly, there’s a lot of thought that goes into it, there’s a lot of numbers, facts, and Bernal’s clearly the one that they are putting their money on with the addition of (Richard) Carapaz who’s riding, last year’s Giro winner. You’re probably looking at a two-pronged attack."

Instead of the Tour, which begins on August 29, Thomas will target the Giro d’Italia at the beginning of October.

Meanwhile, Froome will look for an eighth Grand Tour of his career when he lines up for the Vuelta Espana on October 20.

And Wiggins believes things could pan out positively for everyone involved in the Ineos set-up.

"I don’t see it as a negative thing," he added. "They’ve always had this plan, this goal, to win all three Grand Tours in a season and Geraint’s got himself another month now to get himself into the shape he wants to be in, and the fact he’s riding the Giro you’d have to say he’s going to be a contender for it.

"You don’t leave Geraint out the Tour team lightly, that’s a big decision to make. And G would have been part of that decision. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had; he’s committed, he’s hard, nothing phases him, he’s good to have around, he’s so calm. And so Geraint will be the first to say ‘I don’t think I’m in the form to be a potential winner of that race although I could perform a role up the first parts of the mountain then fall away towards the top’.

"Dave will have said ‘you’re better than that, four more weeks training and you can win the Giro.’ And that’s what they’re going to do, and G would have been part of that decision. I imagine that it’s a relief more than anything because you think of the pressure that he would have been under.

"Froome’s on a forward trajectory from where he’s come from, as he said in his message, from where he was this time last year. He’s got a chance to win the Vuelta; I wouldn’t put it past him but he’ll certainly be up there and he’s got another eight weeks to get up to that. The romantic vision we had of him coming back and winning the Tour after his horrendous accident. It was probably asking too much of him."

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