Brailsford gearing up for 2015 Tour

Sir Dave Brailsford is eyeing a better showing in 2015 for Team Sky

Sir Dave Brailsford is eyeing a better showing in 2015 for Team Sky

First published in National Sport News © by

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford is already preparing for the 2015 Tour de France after a disappointing three-week campaign.

After flawless performances in winning with Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Chris Froome in the 100th edition of the race, Team Sky's luck deserted them in 2014.

Froome crashed three times in two days before abandoning on stage five with a fractured left wrist and right hand.

The 29-year-old is now expected to ride the Vuelta a Espana, which begins in Jerez on August 23, ahead of a renewed bid for the Tour's fabled maillot jaune next summer.

The 2015 Tour, which begins in Utrecht, is already being eagerly anticipated with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), winner in Paris on Sunday, likely to be challenged by Froome, two-time winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 2014 Giro d'Italia champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

Brailsford is plotting a renewed bid for glory for Team Sky.

"I'm thinking of the rest of this season, but I'm thinking about yellow 2015 and what that looks like," Brailsford said.

"I had a five-hour meeting with all the (management) lads in the back of the bus.

"We're so privileged to have won as much as we have over the years and when you don't win, because ultimately somebody's crashed out, it's part of sport.

"You've got to take it on the chin. It's not nice, but (a setback is) inevitable.

"Then it begs the question: how do you react to it? What it does to everybody is make everybody all the more hungry, all the more eager and all the more motivated to bounce back and come and have another crack.

"Next year we're very much geared around trying to win the Tour."

Brailsford believes Team Sky, whose innovations have been replicated and improved upon by rival teams, must continue to think differently but that radical changes are not required.

"We've got the ingredients necessary to feel confident that we can move forward," Brailsford added.

"It's not baby out with the bath water, but like any sports team you go for a certain time.

"We've introduced quite a lot of new things into this sport and new ideas and new methods. You work with that. You constantly need to update and refresh. The idea of continuous improvement."

The Tour began in Leeds on July 5 and race director Christian Prudhomme was so impressed by Yorkshire's grandest of Grand Departs and the millions of roadside spectators that he vowed to bring the race back to the UK again soon.

Brailsford added: "Those first three days were just breathtaking."

They were also nerve-racking for the peloton, with Froome still overcoming a crash in traditional Tour warm-up the Criterium du Dauphine.

With hindsight Brailsford believes that tumble was more significant than he thought at the time.

And the fourth-stage crash after negotiating three tricky stages in the UK led to Froome's premature exit.

Brailsford said: "That was a real blow, if I'm honest about it, looking back.

"He pulled himself round from that (and) we came here with high expectations.

"(But) he couldn't have crashed on a more challenging eve of a stage, than on the cobbled stage."

For Team Sky, once the peloton crossed The Channel, the Tour was soon effectively over after "an innocuous crash".

He added: "It was just one of those things. And there went our Tour de France, basically."

Brailsford praised his troops for trying to recover a semblance of pride from by being prominent in the breakaways when it became clear Froome's deputy, Richie Porte, would be unable to challenge for the podium himself.

Froome may not lead Team Sky in the Vuelta but Brailsford thinks his star man needs miles in his legs for battles to come.

Brailsford said: "We've got to be cautious. The important thing for Chris is that he needs to ride.

"As a Grand Tour racer he needs to ride a Grand Tour this year."

Wiggins had long targeted the Vuelta as preparation for a tilt at September's World Championship time-trial but, following the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, suggested he may never ride another Grand Tour.

Wiggins was not selected for the Tour and is out of contract with Team Sky at the end of 2014, but Brailsford would like to retain the 34-year-old to support his bid to compete in the team pursuit on the track at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Brailsford added: "He is a special talent, he's a great talent. He's a brilliant bike rider.

"Like all of the greats in sport, they're unique people. You try to deal with them appropriately."

Geraint Thomas, the only one of four Britons to start in Leeds and reach Paris, signed a two-year contract extension with Team Sky on Monday.

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