BESANCON, France (VN) – Chris Froome powered up the GC to throw what some suggest could be a wrench into the Team Sky train.
Team Sky brass, however, insist there is no problem with having Froome poised for a podium run behind yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins.
Sport director Sean Yates says there is no internal power struggle within Sky and that the team is solidly rallied around Wiggins.
“Our goal is to win the Tour — period,” Yates said. “Our goal is to win with Bradley. You never can discount an accident to either one of those guys. It’s good to have two guys up there.”
Wiggins, too, echoed the line that the team is firmly backing him as the candidate for victory.
“We want to have a backup plan. We didn’t have that last year when I crashed out. Keeping Chris there as long as possible is good. We’ve been riding shotgun the whole way,” Wiggins said.
“We have to reassess the situation tonight, because we didn’t expect to have two in the top three at this point, to be honest.”
Froome stopped the clock 35 seconds slower than Wiggins to finish second in the stage to settle into third at 2:07 back. He could be sitting second had he not lost 1:25 when he punctured late in stage 1.
Nevertheless, Froome, who won Friday’s stage, was pleased with his performance so far.
“We are riding for Bradley and if I can stay there close, then it’s better for the team,” Froome said. “I feel good right now in the Tour. We will keep working to defend the yellow. We are riding for Bradley.”
The talk of teamwork and commitment seems sincere from Froome, a Kenyan-born rider who came out of nowhere last year to finish second in the Vuelta a España.
Yates, however, said the team would not ride to defend podium spots.
“We are not going to ride to try to get riders in a certain podium spot. We are riding to take the yellow jersey from Paris to the UK,” Yates said. “We are racing to win the Tour.”
Stage winner: Bradley Wiggins (Sky) won his first career Tour stage.
Yellow jersey: Wiggins widened his lead from 10 seconds to 1:53 to defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
Green jersey: No shakeups as Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) safely finished the TT.
Polka-dot jersey: Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) kept the climber’s jersey with no rated climbs on the stage.
White jersey: Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) shot back into the young rider’s jersey ahead of Rein Taaramae (Cofidis).
Best team: RadioShack-Nissan widened its lead to 1:25 to Sky.
There were no departures Monday; 178 riders remain in the race.