x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Team Sky chief grounded despite good start in Tour de France

Despite Bradley Wiggins' commanding lead, team principal Dave Brailsford is cautious about tipping him as the first British winner.

Bradley Wiggins and teammate Christopher Froome are first and third in the race standings.
Bradley Wiggins and teammate Christopher Froome are first and third in the race standings.

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford knows Bradley Wiggins is a long way from becoming the first British Tour de France winner, despite taking a commanding lead in the yellow jersey.

Wiggins is one minute 53 seconds ahead of second-placed Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), the defending champion, at today's first rest day.

Wiggins' Team Sky colleague Chris Froome is 2mins 07secs behind in third place.

"It's fantastic, but we're a long way from Paris," he said.  "Nothing's achieved yet.

"We've got some success out of the race and the performances, individual and team, have been fantastic, but we haven't achieved anything in terms of winning the race and that's what we're here to do.

"If you choose the football analogy we're 1-0 up at half-time and have got all the second half to go and, of course, everything can change."

On Saturday Froome won the seventh stage as Wiggins took the maillot jaune. Froome moved into third by finishing second to Wiggins in yesterday's stage nine time-trial as the Team Sky leader enhanced his lead.

Brailsford added: "The key thing is: how do you win the race?

"If you start getting greedy, overly ambitious and start thinking about anything other than a Team Sky jersey winning the race that could put us on the back foot.

"We've got to stick to our game plan. Clarity is the key now.

Meanwhile, Tony Martin, the world time-trial champion, has withdrawn himself from the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team after failing to recover from a fractured wrist. The German will not start today's 10th stage and is now set to return home to recover ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Martin said: "It's difficult for me to step out of the Tour and leave my teammates here to keep on fighting. "But it's the right thing to do now, and I know that even the guys will understand."

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