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Team Sky on Monday said star riders Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins have been selected in separate Tour de France warm-up races this month. Wiggins became the Tour’s first British winner in 2012 and was succeeded a year later by Froome, who will lead Team Sky in the 101st Tour, which begins in Leeds on July 5, after establishing himself as the British squad’s lead rider.
With the Tour just over a month away, Froome will defend his title in the Criterium du Dauphine, a prestigious Tour warm-up Wiggins won in 2011 and 2012, from June 8 to 15, with Wiggins at the Tour of Switzerland from June 14 to 22.
Froome is joined by Richie Porte, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate, Geraint Thomas and Xabier Zandio in the eight-man Dauphine squad, with all seven likely to accompany him at the Tour, leaving space for one more rider.
Team Sky Team Principal Dave Brailsford said: “Both the Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de Suisse are WorldTour events and we are looking to perform in both races.
“Bradley heads to Switzerland with a strong team after a great win in California and we’ve got the right group for the Dauphine, especially considering the nature of the course.”
Team Sky’s nine-man Tour line-up is expected to be confirmed after the conclusion of the Swiss race by Brailsford, who was tight-lipped on Wiggins’ possible Tour inclusion last month. The June line-ups come after publication of Froome’s autobiography, The Climb, which may have reignited suggestions of a feud between the pair, who last raced together for Team Sky in February 2013 at the Tour of Oman and for Great Britain at last September’s woeful Road World Championships. But Brailsford insisted the line-ups for the events were purely selected with a view to establishing who would be best to feature in the Tour de France.
“Both of these races will form part of our selection for the Tour,” he added. “We have to name 13 riders in a long list during June and we’ll do that from across the squad, including riders at the Route du Sud, not only those in the Dauphine and Tour de Suisse groups.”