While Sky captains (and Tour de France winners) Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins have buried the hatchet and all is hunky-dory in the Land of Brailsford, we keep wondering about whether those two will ride the Tour de France together.
This question becomes tricky because generally Sky likes to put that core Tour squad together early in the year and keep them in the same races. That was true when Wiggins won his Tour and last year Froome had Richie Porte, Kontsantin Sitsou, Peter Kennaugh and Vasil Kiryienka by his side for almost every major race objective. (This year you can add Colombian Sergio Henao to the mix in France where he will make his debut.)
However, a look at Wiggins’ schedule and goals would seem to put him in different races than Froome for a good part of the season. While Sir Brad will tackle Paris-Roubaix, don’t expect skinny Chris Froome to be anywhere near those bone-breaking stones.
Wiggins’ build for the Hell of the North will include E3 Harelbeke (March 28th) and Gent-Wevelgem (March 30th). Again, the chance of Froome lining up for those classics seems highly unlikely.
Next weeks’ division of labor has Froome back at the Tour of Oman to defend his overall title while Wiggins will begin his stage racing at the Ruta Del Sol. In March, the two will race together at Tirreno-Adriatico but after that, who knows?
Then in May, Wiggins is slated to shoot for a GC win in the Tour of California — where he also plans to give American cycling fans back their hopes and clean dreams after the Armstrong doping scandal.
Somehow we don’t expect to see Froome in California but it’s difficult to predict. In the last few years, its become painfully apparent that the Giro-Tour double is a disastrous idea of anyone hoping to finish on the Champs Elysees in yellow. That said, the Tour of California isn’t necessarily on the prep schedule for the South African.
Froome had a grand old time training for the Worlds in Colorado last season at the US Pro Cycling Challenge. He did squat in the race other than sight-seeing but stayed up in the Rockies at altitude with Porte and pals for a few weeks after that. He liked Colorado and the California coastline in May is beautiful.
Still, it may be the case that he prefers to do a training camp while the Tour of California happens. If not, Cali will benefit from a very unique show and 2012 Tour de France flashback: Froome trying to help Brad win a stage race. Who doesn’t want to witness that spectacle?
It will be interesting to see just how many races and camps Froome and Wiggins actually do together. They’re both pros and don’t need to be rubbing shoulders for months to perform well at the Tour de France.