14 September 2020

Wiggins questions Ineos’ decision to leave Thomas and Froome out of Tour de France team after Bernal falls away

Bradley Wiggins has criticised Team Ineos Grenadiers’ decision not to take Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas to the Tour de France after leader Egan Bernal dropped out of contention on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Colombian lost seven minutes and 20 seconds on stage 15 as his hopes of a second successive Tour crown were effectively ended.

Bernal cracked on the lower slopes of the final climb on Sunday (Zuma Press/PA Images)

And as a result of Bernal’s disappointing performance, ex-Tour champion Wiggins believes it was a grave error to leave former winners Thomas and Froome at home.

"I think you take your big players to races like that," he said on Eurosport. "I can’t see Geraint not being in the same position as Tom Dumoulin. I could see him riding in that style if he chose to. With Bernal falling away I can still see Geraint there in a similar space to where Richie Porte is. Geraint not on form will probably be where Richie Porte is at the moment, Geraint on form would be challenging to win the race.

"Chris Froome as a four-time winner I think has earned the right just to be there in that team, in that line-up. If anything as preparation for the Vuelta a España. I don’t see how Richard Carapaz was a direct and comparable replacement for either of those riders. 

"We didn’t realise at the start how little input they had into their own selections. I bigged up the team and Dave Brailsford saying they [Froome and Thomas] were just as big a part of that decision as Dave and they probably chose to not go to the Tour. It’s clearly the other way round and they were a bit p****d off about it!

"It’s a line-up that is so unlike the Sky and Ineos of the past. We’ve just Luke Rowe in there it’s not the team it was from a British perspective of course. It’s just lacking something, an experienced head to just call those shots. A Geraint in that team just changes the whole dynamic. It’ll transpire in the next few weeks what exactly happened."

The Tour looks set to be fought out between a pair of Slovenians in Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic currently holds the leader’s yellow jersey and is 40 seconds in front of Pogacar with five stages left before the procession in Paris.

Meanwhile, four-time Tour champion Froome is continuing his return from a serious crash last year and is targeting the Vuelta Espana which starts on October 20.

And 2018 Tour winner Thomas is hoping to win the Giro d’Italia which gets underway on October 3.

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