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Team Sky manager: Olympics take priority over Tour

Team Sky manager: Olympics take priority over Tour

The Tour de France could be without Team Sky riders Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas next year if the Britons are told to focus on preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.
It will be a decision made by Dave Brailsford, the head of Team Sky and British cycling who potentially faces a conflict of interest.
Brailsford is adamant the priority will be preparing cyclists for the Olympics rather than the Tour de France, which finishes just a week before the games start.
"We have had the discussion and it is quite clear that we consider it a unique one-off home event," he said. "We are doing everything to ensure we are ready for the Olympic Games. If there is ever a question of prioritization, we are all prioritizing London 2012."
Cycling will be key to Britain's chances of replicating, or improving on, its fourth-place finish in the medal count four years ago, having won eight titles on the track at the Beijing Games.
"With having a foot in both camps, I do not have to argue with professional teams over someone like (team pursuit gold medalist) Geraint Thomas and try to get them to forego his participation in the Tour de France for the sake of a British ride at the Olympic Games _ they would not do that normally," Brailsford said. "With the unique position that I hold, I can decide what is the best race program for someone like Geraint Thomas."
But the dangers of appearing in the Tour before the Olympics were highlighted last week when Wiggins was forced to pull out after breaking his collarbone in a crash during the seventh stage.
"The road racers like (HTC's) Mark Cavendish and these guys race on a very, very frequent basis, so those guys would expect to come out of the Tour in great shape _ racing 10 days later (at the Olympics) wouldn't be a problem," Brailsford said. "For the track racers (like Wiggins and Thomas), we'd have to think much more carefully about what would be best for their preparation."
Brailsford said British broadcaster BSkyB, which sponsors Team Sky, backs his decision to focus on the Olympics over the road racing team.
"That's what's been clear from day one," he said. "It's never been an issue."
Brailsford, however, did say that working with the riders at the Tour would put him in "an advantageous position" to prepare them for the Olympics.
"It could be that we see quite a number of riders riding in France as part of the preparation for the Olympic Games," Brailsford said. "What the professional cycling team has allowed us to do is for me to monitor and control the racing programs, coaching and development of all the British riders."