PARIS (Reuters) - After helping Bradley Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour de France, Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford wants to help send a Frenchman to glory on his home grand Tour.
“In the back of my mind, there is a little idea. We won the Tour with a Briton, but will a Frenchman win the Tour? It would be huge,” Brailsford, who won back-to-back Tour titles with Wiggins and Chris Froome in 2012 and 2013 respectively, told French daily L‘Equipe on Monday.
No Frenchman has won the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985.
“I would like to win with a Frenchman. I think it’s something that has to be done. For the Tour, for France, for the French, for the sport,” added Brailsford, who lived in France for four years and speaks French.
Asked which rider could achieve this feat, he named three: “There is (Romain) Bardet, (Warren) Barguil, (Thibaut) Pinot.”
Bardet, 23, finished 15th overall in last year’s Tour while Pinot, 24, was 10th on his Tour debut in 2012 and took seventh place overall in last year’s Vuelta.
Barguil, 22, won two stages on the Vuelta last year.
Brailsford stepped down from his role as British Cycling’s performance director earlier this year in order to concentrate on running Team Sky.
His 10 years at the helm of elite cycling in Britain led to unprecedented medal hauls at the Beijing and London Olympics and a world road title for Mark Cavendish.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Martyn Herman