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Cycling-Gutted Wiggins expects to miss Tour de France

Reuters

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PARIS, June 6 (Reuters) - Bradley Wiggins said he was gutted after appearing to rule himself out of this year's Tour de France which starts in England in less than a month.

The 2012 champion hinted that Team Sky are unlikely to select him in a squad that will be fronted by last year's winner Chris Froome.

"Right now I think I can tell you that I will not ride the Tour de France," Wiggins told the French sports daily L'Equipe after he was overlooked for the Dauphine Libere, a key warmup event in the south-east of the country.

"I was ready to go but in the last weeks it has become clear that unless something happens to Froome at the Dauphine I will not ride the Tour. That's it."

Fellow Briton Froome won the Tour last year and is favourite to repeat the triumph in the July 5-27 race.

Wiggins, who also won gold at the 2012 London Olympics, later told the BBC: "The team is focused around Chris Froome. I am gutted. I feel I am in the form I was two years ago.

"Now if I want to go to the Tour again, the reality is that I might have to go elsewhere.

"I also understand that cycling is a team sport and it is all about Team Sky winning and Chris is defending champion."

Wiggins said he discussed the situation with team manager Dave Brailsford two days ago.

"He said that if Froome got injured ... I could help Richie Porte, for instance," said the Olympic champion.

"It's personally disappointing but one can understand when they picked that team (for the Dauphine)," added Wiggins who will instead ride in the Tour of Switzerland.

Froome helped Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour de France but the relationship between the two riders has become increasingly strained.

"The Tour is so intense because you're riding for four weeks, six or seven hours a day, you're in each other's pockets," said Wiggins.

"You go through many highs and lows. Tensions can rise between two competitive riders." (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by John O'Brien)

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