Thursday, 16 May 2013

Wiggins Out, Uran In, Froome?

You know Bradley Wiggins is struggling when he even manages to lose time on a 'sprint stage'. Even if the weather was torrential if Cavendish can make it to the end to contest the sprint then Wiggins should be more than capable of finishing in the Maglia Rosa group but another wet descent and a chest infection has left the Pink Jersey well beyond his reach, in fact 5 minutes 22 seconds beyond his reach. So what now for Sky both at the Giro and of course the Tour?...

It's reported that most of the team has been ill at some point during the Giro but with worsening weather a cold and chest infection has gripped Wiggins harder and if so far he's put a brave face on it and said his Giro isn't over it looks like Dave Brailsford has called time on his team leadership status, as confirmed in a tweet from Cycling Weekly:
@cyclingweekly Dave Brailsford has confirmed that Rigoberto Uran is now Team Sky's leader for the rest of the Giro.

With Uran only 2:04 off the pace he could present more of a danger than Wiggins ever could in the back end of this race. Thought of more as a classics rider during his time at Sky, Uran does have climbing pedigree - of course Colombian by name and Colombian by nature - Uran looked comfortable as he rode away to solo victory on stage 10 and it's worth remembering Uran won the young rider classification at last years race so he can clearly go the three week distance. If anybody thought the remainder of this Girp was a dead set two horse race between Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans then they are wrong, Uran and Gesink look more than capable of pulling something off and if Wiggins hasn't been what Sky hoped then they still have a rider well in the mix and a stage win to their name. Whether Wiggins will remain in the race to support the new team leader is another question and my own opinion is that it's unlikely. If Wiggins remains ill I can't see him riding much further, and if he has other objectives in mind then it might be wise to pull out...
Other objectives? The Tour de France. There was talk of Wiggins being 'undercooked' before the start and 'illness' has often been used to hide a big riders lack of form. I'm not saying that's the case with Wiggins but he has looked a little disinterested in the Italian Grand Tour since he left the start line and before he even turned up to race in Italy he was already luring the cycling press in with constant mention of the 'double' and aiming for yellow in France, a clear sign that his mind was elsewhere. If Dave Brailsford is a little unhappy about the team performance in the Giro then Chirs Froome is currently poking pins into a Brad shaped voodoo doll, even Sean Kelly has talked about not wanting to be in Brailsford's shoes come Tour'oclock.
This must have been Chris Froomes worst nightmare - in fact he couldn't really win either way, if Wiggins leaves the Giro he's sure to want to go for the Tour, if Wiggins won the Giro he's sure to want to go for the double. It was never going to be plain sailing when it came to picking the team - and the team leader - for the Tour but things just got a whole lot harder.
There is certainly time between now and the Tour for Wiggins to recover from any illness and put in some hard training efforts but with a lack of winning form and no real racing data to bump Wiggins into the hot-seat surly Sky won't be overly eager to dish him Tour leader status up on a plate, after all, this is Sky: Marginal gains where the numbers matter, they are not into taking risks. Of course winning form and race data is something Chris Froome has plenty of this year and he will be busting cranks to show his form in the Dauphine. The other notable difference this year to last is that should Sky choose to give Bradley Wiggins leader status it's clear that Froome will not be dropping back to help his leader, in fact he's likely to do the opposite and go all out attack on the steep climbs and really who could blame him?
The drama rolls on...

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up. Thanks. Again, so much better than mainstream press.