PARIS (Reuters) - Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins hinted he may not be the Team Sky leader at next year’s race as the route appears to be better suited to team mate Chris Froome.
Asked if he would defend his title, Wiggins told reporters on Wednesday at a packed Palais des Congres he would start the race, adding: ”It was always about winning one Tour and then deal with what comes next.
”It’s more than likely I’ll ride in a supporting role for Chris. I just want to be in a successful team and if that’s Chris (who is going to be the leader) then so be it.
“He’ll have to grow some sideburns though,” Wiggins added with a grin referring to his trademark look.
The 2013 route, with four mountain top finishes and 65 km of individual time trialing - instead of 101.4 in 2012 - is expected to suit Froome, a natural climber, better than Wiggins.
“It’s going be decided within the team how we’re going to best tackle the race,” Froome told reporters.
Sky, however, are unlikely to find it easy, especially with the returns of Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, who missed the 2012 race through injury and suspension respectively.
“Last year (the 2012 race) was controlled by Sky, they had the best climber in the race with Froome working for Wiggins so he was able to keep things calm,” said American Tejay van Garderen who this year won the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider.
“I don’t think they can keep it that calm with Andy and Contador attacking.”
The first yellow jersey, however, may well be worn by Mark Cavendish as the opening stage in Corsica will be a flat one designed for sprinters.
“It is quite exciting, I’ve never had the chance before to go for the yellow jersey,” the Briton said.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar