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Wiggins: Ratcliffe takeover of Team Sky 'ideal situation' for Brailsford

A takeover of Team Sky by Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe would be an Credit: PA

A takeover of Team Sky by Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe would be an "ideal situation" for key man Dave Brailsford, according to Bradley Wiggins.

Reports have suggested Ratcliffe, the founder and chairman of the Ineos chemicals company who has a £21billion fortune, will step in to replace Sky's sponsorship, with confirmation of a deal said to be imminent.

Ineos and Team Sky declined to comment when contacted by Press Association Sport.

Sky announced in December it would be ending its association with the team at the end of the year. The partnership has extended beyond 10 years, with the team securing eight Grand Tour victories during that period from the likes of Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

And Tour de France winner Wiggins believes a deal with Ratcliffe would benefit the team under the continuing leadership of general manager Brailsford.

"Dave will want to retain control and it is Dave's way in terms of the way he manages the team, the way he sets the team up," the Olympic gold medallist said in the first episode of the new series of The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport.

"I think he would have been reluctant to have another multi-national company that came in that wanted it for the advertisement and to get their name out there, but would want the control in terms of 'This is how we want to do it in terms of how we advertise our company'.

"I think that would have been a big point for Dave. So in some ways it's an ideal situation.

"He (Ratcliffe) is the richest man in Britain and you would imagine that the kind of money they have asked for is nothing to him.

"Dave can continue running out this team with all his plans and philosophies, so it's an ideal situation for him and he is answerable you'd imagine to one man - it's his money. It will certainly help that team."

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Future looks bright for Brailsford's team, says Wiggins

Credit: PA

Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins believes the loss of Team Sky's sponsorship will not be detrimental as new money coming in ensures key man Dave Brailsford's plans will be unaffected.

The media giant announced in December it would be ending its association with the team at the end of the year. The partnership has extended beyond 10 years, with the team securing eight Grand Tour victories during that period.

Reports have suggested Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe, with a £21billion fortune, will step in and Wiggins thinks that will benefit the team under the continuing leadership of general manager Brailsford.

"Dave will want to retain control and it is Dave's way in terms of the way he manages the team, the way he sets the team up," the Olympic gold medallist said in the first episode of the new series of The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport.

"I think he would have been reluctant to have another multi-national company that came in that wanted it for the advertisement and to get their name out there, but would want the control in terms of 'This is how we want to do it in terms of how we advertise our company'.

"I think that would have been a big point for Dave. So in some ways it's an ideal situation.

"He (Ratcliffe) is the richest man in Britain and you would imagine that the kind of money they have asked for is nothing to him.

"Dave can continue running out this team with all his plans and philosophies, so it's an ideal situation for him and he is answerable you'd imagine to one man - it's his money. It will certainly help that team."

Froome and Thomas aiming for Tour de France success in 2019

Credit: PA

Team Sky are set to go into what could be their final Tour de France with two leaders as four-time winner Chris Froome and defending champion Geraint Thomas both confirmed they will target the race in 2019.

Froome will not defend his Giro d'Italia title as he seeks a record-equalling fifth Tour crown, but will face a challenge from within as Thomas also plans to be in France having won the race for the first time in July.

Both riders have said they want to deliver success on the road in order to help Team Sky secure new sponsorship, with the decision of broadcaster Sky to end its investment in the sport after 2019 leaving the team with an uncertain future.

Froome admitted it was a difficult decision not to defend his Giro crown after becoming the first British winner of the Italian race last May, but he has his eyes on the record of five Tour titles jointly held by Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain.

"I'm getting to the point in my career now where I'm starting to think about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind and if I am able to win the Tour de France for a fifth time and join that very elite group of bike riders - only four other people have ever done that - it would just be incredible," the 33-year-old said.

That will leave Sky with two leaders in France in July, with Thomas keen to defend his title before turning his attention to the time trial at the world championships in Yorkshire in September. He too will miss the Giro.

"The main goal for me will be to go back to the Tour de France for the best result I can," the Welshman said.

"Maybe if I hadn't have won the Tour in 2018 I might have looked at a Giro/Vuelta programme but, having won the Tour, I'll have the number one on my back and it would be sad not to go back and not to go back at 100% as well.

"The year will be geared around that, but I'm also looking forward to a slightly different programme as well, and obviously after the Tour, the Worlds in Yorkshire will be massive."

With Thomas and Froome focused on the Tour, Sky will hand team leadership for the Giro in May to 21-year-old rising star Egan Bernal, who finished 15th at the Tour in July in his first season at WorldTour level.

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