Wiggins will not ride in Tour de France and may quit Team Sky
First British winner Bradley Wiggins says he will only join team if 'something happens' to Chris Froome
Bradley Wiggins, the first Briton to win the Tour de France, says he does not expect to take part in this year's race unless "something happens" to his rival, and last year's winner, Chris Froome.
The Olympic gold-medalist said he was "gutted" about the situation and hinted that he was ready to quit the Sky cycling team. "If I want to do the Tour, I will have to leave Sky," he told French newspaper L'Equipe, reports the Daily Telegraph.
His comments hint at the tensions between the two British riders who have delivered back-to-back Tour de France triumphs for Sky. Despite Wiggins' higher profile and popularity Sky has decided to back Froome in this year's race.
Earlier this week Wiggins was left out of Sky's team for the traditional Tour warm-up, the Criterium du Dauphine, which begins on Sunday, amid rumours that Froome had blacklisted him. As the team's lead rider, Froome has a large say in selection and prefers to work with Australian Richie Porte.
Froome and Wiggins fell out during the 2012 Tour as Froome was forced to play second fiddle while Wiggins pedalled his way to victory. The following year, in the absence of an injured Wiggins, Froome won the race himself.
"The team is focused around Chris Froome," Wiggins told the BBC. "I am gutted. I feel I am in the form I was two years ago. Now if I want to go to the Tour again, the reality is that I might have to go elsewhere."
Wiggins also told L'Equipe that Sky had urged him to concentrate on track cycling and the Commonwealth Games. "These last few weeks, it has become more and more clear that unless something happens to Froome at the Dauphine, I will not be at the Tour. There we go," he said.
"If something happens to one of the other squad members, it won't be me who replaces him."