Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins both want to lead Team Sky to Tour de France victory in 2013.
Chris Froome has contradicted team-mate and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins by claiming that he will lead Team Sky’s challenge in this year’s race.
Wiggins has suggested Sky will wait until the last minute before appointing a team leader for the gruelling 21-stage event, which runs from June 29 to July 21.
But Froome, who has enjoyed an impressive start to the season, claims he has been given assurances that he will be Sky’s leader for the 100th edition of the historic stage race.
“There has been much speculation regarding the leadership for Team Sky at the Tour de France this year,” he said in a statement released to cycling website Velo News.
“I have made it clear that winning the Tour would be my main objective for 2013. I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing, and at no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question.
“Attempting to win the Tour de France is a massive undertaking, and will take total commitment from each and every team member. The Tour team has yet to be selected, but with the depth of talent that we have at Team Sky, I have no doubt that the strongest and most willing riders will be there to support me.”
Froome, who triumphed in last week’s Tour de Romandie, supported Wiggins in last year’s Tour de France and helped the 33-year-old become the first Briton to ever win the race.
Sky team principal Dave Brailsford said last November that the roles would be reversed this year but Wiggins said on Monday that he intended to defend his title.
“At this stage, all being well, it may be that we end up joint leaders for that first week until the racing decides,” he said.
“Without racing against each other when we hit the mountains or whatever, the racing decides naturally who the leader becomes.
“It may be that we both stay in contention until that week, Chris wins the mountain stage, takes the yellow jersey, in which case there is a natural hierarchy there and then I try and finish second as he did last year.
“That may not happen — there may be a clear-cut leader before you get there. We will see.”
However, Wiggins says his primary objective for 2013 is the Giro d’Italia, which begins in Naples on Saturday.