Wiggins stuns fans by turning back on Tour de France defence to support Froome after nightmare route is unveiled
12:11 GMT, 24 October 2012
Reigning champion Bradley Wiggins has turned his back on a second Tour de France title after agreeing to support Chris Froome's bid for glory.
The move marks a role reversal for the Team Sky team-mates after Froome played a key part in Wiggins' historic victory in July.
Look says it all: Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome watch the 2013 route presentation
Rivals: Andy Schleck, Alberto Contador and Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins has set his sights on winning the Giro d’Italia next year as he attempts to secure all three Grand Tour titles.
Speaking at Wednesday's 2013 route announcement, Wiggins said: 'It's more than likely I'll be there in a helping capacity. For me it was about winning one Tour. I want to win the Giro.'
The 32-year-old became the first
Briton to win the Tour this summer when he beat Froome to the yellow jersey.
This year's race suited Wiggins'
time-trial prowess but next year's event, which starts for the first
time in Corsica, is apparently more mountainous which would not favour
the Briton but instead the likes of Alberto Contador.
The 2013 Tour de France route
The Tour – the first since lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles – will end on the Champs-Elysees at night, organisers confirmed.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme revealed a 3,360-kilometre, 21-stage route, which takes place entirely in France, beginning on Corsica on June 21 and finishing under floodlights on the most famous boulevard in Paris on July 21.
Organisers made a decision to shorten
the combined length of the race's two individual time trials in part as
a response to the domination in this year's tour by champion Wiggins.
The 65 kilometers (40 miles) of time
trials split evenly between the 11th and 17th stages is almost 40
kilometers (25 miles) less than in the 2012 Tour, which could play into
Olympic time trial champion Wiggins' decision to focus instead on the
The first individual time trail on July 10 finishes against the backdrop of the Mont Saint-Michel monestary.
The contenders: (l to r) Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Tejay van Garderen, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador
Main man: Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme
Organisers have given sprinters like Mark Cavendish a gift – the June 29 stage finish in Bastia is the first time since 1966 that a sprinter can hope to wear the yellow jersey after the first stage, Prudhomme said.
The traditional Bastille Day stage on July 14 is the race's longest at 242 kilometers (150 miles), ending with the 20.8-kilometer (13-mile) ascent of Mont Ventoux, one of cycling's most mythical climbs.
In another first for the race, which has only stopped for the two world wars since the first Tour in 1903, riders will begin the final stage on July 21 inside the grounds of the Versailles Palace. With the sprawling 17th-century chateau as a backdrop to the race start, 'It's going to be a knockout,' Prudhomme said.
The last stage will start later in the day than traditionally and timed for a finish at about 9 p.m., while there is still enough light to ensure riders' safety, Prudhomme said.
'We wanted the finish of the 100th Tour winner to be unique,' Prudhomme said.
In another change to tradition, the eight laps of the Champs Elysees will send riders all the way around the giant Arc de Triomphe arch at the top of the grand avenue, rather than just passing in front of it as in past years.
Armstrong finished on the top of the podium in a record seven Tours from 1999 to 2005 but was subject to a United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation and stripped of his titles and banned for life.
The UCI, cycling's world governing body, ratified the sanctions on Monday.