Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome has said he played no part in Team Sky’s decision to leave Bradley Wiggins out of their team this year.
Wiggins won the biggest race in cycling back in 2012 and his victory was then followed up by Froome 12 months ago, with Wiggins unable to take part having struggled with illness and injury in the build-up.
Last week it was announced the 34-year-old would not be riding again in 2014 but Froome claims the final call was not down to him.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s Grand Depart in Leeds, Kenyan-born Froome said: “Just to make it absolutely clear, I do not have a role in selection.
“I do speak to (team principal) Dave Brailsford about the group of guys I have been racing with, but if you look at how a Tour team is generally selected, the guys doing a Tour will be doing altitude camps together really quite early on in the season, racing together as a group. We really are a tight-knit group.”
Froome is the 1.94 favourite to win this year’s Tour de France ahead of Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador (2.60) while Any Other Rider can be backed at 6.50.
Saturday’s Stage 1 sees the 198 riders start with a road stage instead of a prologue as they cover 190.5km from Leeds to Harrogate via Skipton, Hawes, Masham and Ripon.
Two more UK stages follow before the Tour hits French soil for the first time from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille on Tuesday.