Bradley Wiggins has been forced to withdraw from this year’s Tour de France through injury. After a disappointing Giro D’Italia – won by Vicenzo Nibali – in which he had to pull out before stage 13, it has emerged that it was not only that chest infection that was plaguing him, but also a knee injury.
As a result, Wiggins will be unable to defend his 2012 title, although Chris Froome had already been given the nod to lead Team Sky. “I desperately wanted be there, for the team and for all the fans along the way – but it’s not going to happen” said Wiggins. “I can’t train the way I need to train and I’m not going to be ready… I’ve been through this before, when I broke my collarbone, so I know how it works. I’ll get this sorted, set new goals for this season and focus on those.”
As if any more confirmation were needed, a permanent end has been put to the speculation that Wiggins might try and challenge team-mate Froome for the GC win.
Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman confirmed that the chest infection that ended Wiggins’ Giro has completely cleared up, but the toll it had taken on him meant that he was unable to train without any of his usual intensity – meaning that he will be in nowhere near good enough condition to compete.
However, all is not lost for Team Sky, with Aussie Richie Porte being lined up to be Froome’s lieutenant for cycling’s most prestigious event.
“This team has so many riders in great shape, ready for selection and we set incredible standards for performance which shouldn’t be compromised. We need to have the best chance to win.” Wiggins added.
It was also announced that Froome would lead Sky in the Criterium du Dauphine, which starts on 2nd June. Runner up in last year’s Tour, Froome has been in good form so far this year, winning the Tour of Oman as well as stage wins in the Criterium International and the Tour de Romandie. “I’m feeling really good, I came off a good block of training up in Tenerife with the guys and I’ve had about a week at home now. It’s been nice to sleep in my own bed for a little while.” said Froome.
Sky are entering a strong team in the Dauphine, with British trio Geraint Thomas, Pete Kennaugh and Ian Stannard, as well as Aussie Porte, Norwegian Edvald Boassan Hagan, Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka and Spaniard David Lopez.