Brailsford relaxed as he eyes more Sky success
HELPING a British rider to Tour de France glory for the first time would heap huge further expectations on anyone, but Team Sky head David Brailsford remains sanguine as the British outfit begin the 2013 season.
Speaking before the start of yesterday’s fourth stage of the Tour of Oman, the brains behind Sir Bradley Wiggins’ 2012 Tour triumph is not making any big promises but knows what his team can achieve.
“We have to consider that last season is just part of the past. We are now focused on a new season, new objectives. We start again from scratch with the same motivation, the same energy,” said Brailsford.
“We’re doing it without any pressure. The off season has been tough for cycling and it feels good to get back to racing,” he added, referring to the Lance Armstrong scandal which saw the American stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and admit to doping.
“We have different ambitions and we are not thinking about defending something. We won the Tour de France once, we want to do it twice and it might be in 2013, or in 2014 or 2015. We’re not defending anything.”
Bettering last year’s results will be hard, however, as not only did Wiggins win the Tour, but team-mate and fellow Briton Chris Froome took second place overall.
And Froome has started this season well, taking the overall lead at the Tour of Oman by finishing second in yesterday’s fourth stage behind Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez.
Froome and Wiggins will not ride together again before the Tour, with the latter focusing mainly on winning the Giro d’Italia. Brailsford, however, remained vague when asked about the team’s other grand Tour ambitions for 2013.
“Brad will ride the Giro and Chris focuses on the Tour. If everything goes well, Chris will be in good form on the Tour but we also hope that the five-week rest between the Giro and the Tour will help Brad start the Tour in great condition,” he said.
Wiggins followed his Tour triumph last year with the individual time trial gold at the London Olympics but Brailsford wants more.
“It is true that he had great successes. When you win important titles, you just want to continue,” he said.
“I think that he is still hungry. He is more mature. But he is 32 and he will not continue at this level for long so he has to make the most of the time he has left.”
Brailsford, who also oversaw Britain’s record medal haul in track cycling at the Olympics, was not too concerned by a growing rivalry between Froome and Wiggins.
“I don’t have two egos [to deal with]. They are two talents,” he added.
“With them, you have to be honest, to tell them how it’s going to work, you have to have a form of authority and treat everyone as a rider.”
With the two big names riding in the same squad for the first time since last July, Froome took a 24-second overall lead on the Tour of Oman general classification after finishing behind Katusha’s Rodriguez on the 152.5-kilometre route from Al Saltiyah in Samail to Jabal Al Akhdhar.
The 27-year-old Kenya-born Briton is now on course to win his first major stage race following the often decisive Green Mountain climb, if he can protect his lead in the remaining two days’ racing.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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