Brailsford backs Wiggins for Tour triumph
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford believes Bradley Wiggins can become the first Briton to win the Tour de France after a sensational build-up to cycling's blue riband event.
Defending champion Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck, Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali are the main rivals for the yellow jersey in Paris when Le Tour starts on Saturday in Liege.
Brailsford declared, "He's ready, in great shape. He's proven he can compete at the highest level. He's confident, his belief systems are in place. It's now about execution. The bookies don't make him one of the favourites for nothing.
"It's more about not making a mistake than it is about winning the race, as such. In the time-trials and mountain stages, which will be critical, I think Bradley's in great shape."
Do not count out Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal either as the Canadian has declared that he will win the world's most prestigious race one day in the future.
The Garmin-Sharp rider told Cyclingnews, "I think I can win. I don't know if it will be this year but definitely after what I was able to do in the Giro, that was a big indicator for myself and now it's about how I can apply that further down the road. I got in a good recovery after the Giro, had some training and got the hours in around Girona.
"There are a lot of riders I've not seen for a while and a lot of riders basing their season on the Tour, so we'll have to wait and see how it shakes out. In the Giro I just focused on what I had to do and did that as well as I could. If that moves me into contention for the win then I'll address that when it happens.
"We saw what happened to the favourites on paper at the Giro. The analysts and the people following from the outside pick and develop their favourites but more and more and more we've seen riders winning who haven't been the top favourites. It makes for good racing and now you have to analyse every rival."
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