Tour de France

Briton, Sky will bounce back

2014-07-28 07:56
Dave Brailsford (Getty Images)

Paris - Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford refused to be downcast despite a disastrous Tour de France for his team.

The British cycling chief even vowed to come back in 2015 and try to win the world's most prestigious cycling race for a third time in four years.

Sky's leader and defending champion Chris Froome crashed out of the race on the fifth stage after breaking his hand and wrist.

Australian Richie Porte stepped into the breach and initially looked well equipped to challenge Vincenzo Nibali for overall victory.

He started the first high mountain stage in the Alps in second place overall but cracked and lost nine minutes.

His Tour went from bad to worse and he finished 23rd overall at more than an hour behind Nibali.

To make matters worse, he was beaten by two of his domestiques (support riders) - Mikel Nieve, 18th, and Geraint Thomas, 22nd.

Sky failed to win a single stage with their best result a third place finish from Belarussian Vasil Kiryienka on stage 16.

But still Brailsford said it hadn't been an unmitigated disaster.

"No I don't think so. We won this race twice and that was fantastic," he said.

"When you win you have to win with dignity and when you lose you have to lose with dignity.

"We had the pleasure of winning this great race twice so chapeau to all the riders who rode well, especially to Nibali and also the French who have done well this year.

"This year wasn't our year but we'll try again next year."

Brailsford was gracious towards the old enemy, who out-performed his British riders as France finished with Jean-Christophe Peraud and Thibaut Pinot on the podium in second and third respectively.

Although Bradley Wiggins won the Tour in 2012, with Froome second, and the latter followed up with the title last year, Sky's best finisher this time was Spaniard Nieve in 18th and the only Briton to finish the race, Thomas, came 22nd.

Yet Brailsford insisted home success was good for the Grand Boucle.

"It's good for everyone. It's good for the French because it is after all the Tour de France," he added.

"It's good for all of French cycling and we're happy for that."

Brailsford said his and Froome's attentions would now turn to the Vuelta a Espana, which begins on August 23.

It's a race no Briton has ever won and which Sky have come close in before.

Froome was second in 2011, just 13sec behind Spaniard Juan Jose Cobo.

That same year Wiggins finished third while Froome was fourth in 2012.

"Yes, he (Froome) will do the Vuelta for sure. He's started riding again but he's not at 100 percent. We'll do our maximum," said Brailsford.

Despite Sky's poor showing, the boss said he had no regrets at leaving Wiggins out of the Tour team, a highly controversial move at the time.

"At the time that was the decision we took and if we had to go back and do it all over again, we'd make the same choice," insisted Brailsford.

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