Tour de France: Team Sky confirm Froome not Wiggins will lead

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome

Team Sky have confirmed Chris Froome will lead their challenge at the Tour de France ahead of Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins, 33, won the race last year and had said he wanted to defend his title.

But Froome, 27, helped Wiggins to victory in France and claimed he would get number-one status in 2013.

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said: "Given Chris's step-up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January, is to have him lead the Tour de France team."

Froome has won the Tour of Oman,Criterium International and Tour de Romandie events so far this season and Brailsford said in a statement on the Team Sky website that the decision was "evidence-based".

He added: "It is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader."

Wiggins is currently second in the Giro d'Italia and the Olympic time trial champion's main objective for the season had always been victory in that race, according to Brailsford.

"Since the start of the season, Bradley's performance plan has focused around training specifically to try to win the Giro and then ride the Tour, while Chris's has been focused on attempting to win the Tour," said the Team Sky boss.

The 100th edition of the Tour de France features several tough ascents in the Alps and Pyrenees which are likely to suit climbers such as Froome, while the time trials at which Wiggins excels have been reduced to 65km from 100km in 2012.

Froome was in France last week to carry out a recce of stage 15 of this year's race, while Brailsford said his team's full line-up would not be confirmed until after the Criterium du Dauphine, which takes place in June as part of the lead-up to the Tour de France later that month.

"With over seven weeks until the Tour, and the Giro to focus on, our final selection of nine won't be confirmed until after the Dauphine.

"Everyone here is 100% focused on this race [the Giro] and the next three weeks."

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