Chorley’s Sir Bradley Wiggins says he is likely to miss this year’s Tour de France as Team Sky focus their efforts around defending champion Chris Froome.
Froome and 2012 winner Wiggins were last week selected to compete in separate Tour warm-up races in the clearest indication yet that Wiggins would not line up in Yorkshire on July 5.
And the 34-year-old has now confirmed that he is not likely to be part of Team Sky’s nine-strong team.
He said: “As it stands, I won’t be there. The team is focused around Chris Froome.
“I am gutted. I’ve worked extremely hard for this throughout the winter and up to the summer. I feel I am in the form I was two years ago.”
Wiggins became the Tour’s first British winner in 2012 and was a year later succeeded by Froome, who will lead Team Sky in the 101st Tour, which begins in Leeds, after establishing himself as the British squad’s lead rider.
After a sub-standard 2013, Wiggins is in fine form. The seven-time Olympic medallist won the Tour of California last month, just weeks after placing an impressive ninth in the one-day classic Paris-Roubaix, held over the cobbles of northern France which will feature in a key fifth stage of this year’s Tour.
But despite his recent good form Wiggins is sure that, unless Froome suffers an injury in the Criterium du Dauphine which runs from June 8 to 15, he will not be at le Tour.
“After Paris-Roubaix and California, I was physically ready to go,” he said.
“But the last few weeks, it gradually became clear that unless something happened to Froome in Dauphine, I will not do the Tour.
“To be honest, I’ve had my doubts since April. After Roubaix, I had a bit of hope but then after California, I knew that (my team-mates) would be going to altitude but I would not be involved.
“The plan was that Chris and I would both do the Tour, Chris would be the leader and I wanted to play a supporting role. It’s obviously disappointing.”