Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed he could not bring himself to watch fellow Team Sky rider Chris Froome win the Tour de France and inherit the title he won in 2012.
Wiggins was forced to miss the 100th Tour through injury, having seen his own dream of winning the Giro d’Italia earlier this year ended by illness.
The 33-year-old made a low key comeback yesterday, finishing over nine minutes behind the leading group in the first stage of the Tour of Poland.
“I didn’t watch, I couldn’t watch,” Wiggins said of the Tour de France.
“I would have loved to have been there so it was hard to watch. I focused on the positives rather than sitting watching telly depressed.
“I watched the end of the first stage when I heard the bus knocked the finish down, but otherwise I just followed what the guys did from afar.”
Although Wiggins wanted to defend his Tour de France title, he acknowledges this year’s mountainous route was better suited to a natural climber like Froome.
Wiggins has been criticised for reportedly not congratulating Froome on his victory but he said yesterday: “Brilliant. It was a great team performance, a great individual performance and they deserved everything they got. Chris’s performance was dominant. I’ve said before he’s probably best climber in the world.
“I’ve never been that good a climber. I can climb but my speciality is the time trial and working back from that. A Tour like this year, Chris is the stronger rider.”
Wiggins confirmed he will not be riding the Vuelta a Espana, putting his focus now on the world championships in September, where he wants to add the time trial crown to the Olympic title he won 12 months ago in London.
The first stage of the Tour of Poland, a 184.5km ride through the Dolomites between Rovereto and Madonna di Campiglio in Italy, was won by the Italian Diego Ulissi.
Wiggins finished alongside fellow Team Sky rider Ben Swift and Giro winner Vincent Nibali nine minutes and 13 seconds behind Ulissi, who held off Darwin Atapuma and Rafal Majka in a sprint finish.
The lead Team Sky rider was the Colombian Sergio Henao, who had pushed the pace up the final climb and then hung on to finish at the back of the lead group.