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Brailsford's approach could be 'quite divisive' with Thomas-Froome leadership, says Wiggins

Dan Alexander
16 Jul 2018

Former Team Sky rider gives take on squad's dual leader approach and Dave Brailsford's methods

Bradley Wiggins has spoken out on 'divisive' Dave Brailsford’s approach to internal leadership battles at Team Sky. Wiggins, who was famously embroiled in a power struggle with teammate Chris Froome at the 2012 Tour, suggested that Brailsford’s approach to the leadership rivalry between Geraint Thomas and Froome could be 'quite divisive' and 'self-serving' with the success of the team as the main priority.

Speaking during The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport, Sir Brad said that Brailsford would ‘certainly get in both their ears and make them both think that they can win it as a way of motivating them’ and would be keen to keep both riders high on General Classification for as long as possible into the race until a natural selection occurs leaving one rider as outright team leader.

With Thomas 59 seconds ahead of teammate Froome and potentially in the yellow jersey by the end of Stage 10, there has been considerable speculation about which of the two riders will be Team Sky’s designated leader in the second and third weeks of the Tour.

For Wiggins, it seems most likely that both will be protected riders and that they will try and keep both men high on GC deep into the race, giving Sky two cards to play, protecting their chances in the case of a crash or bad day in the mountains.

However, the 2012 Tour champion suggested that dual leadership could leave the team with ‘a real problem on their hands’ with the reduced number of riders per team at this year’s race potentially leaving Froome and Thomas isolated.

The prospect of having ‘six riders riding in the mountains from the start with other teams attacking, it’s going to be a lot more difficult than with the eight riders’.

Movistar and AG2R La Mondiale are likely to ride aggressively, which may leave Froome and Thomas in a perilous situation.

Wiggins is concerned for Sky, ‘Lose one or two up the first climb, a Luke Rowe or someone else and then you’re down to five guys.

'That’s going to be quite hard to defend,' he said.

Ultimately, Wiggins is unsure of how Team Sky’s Tour de France will play out but expects Brailsford to ‘do his usual’ and prioritise the ‘team winning’ over individual aspiration, which may well end with either Froome or Thomas sacrificing their ambitions of yellow to support their teammate.

Team Sky’s leadership dilemma will be a fascinating sub plot for Stage 10 on Tuesday when the first mountains of the Tour will be climbed on a 158km stage from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand.