Cycling fans aren’t the only interested observers of Team Sky's Tour de France selection dramas, even those close to the sport like Tinkoff-Saxo's Bjarne Riis have been, perhaps cheekily, drawn in by the soap opera.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

Bradly Wiggins v Chris Froome and Chris Froome v Bradley Wiggins has been one of the best stories in professional cycling over the past two years.

Yet, despite well the reported tensions within the team, Sky has done what it set out to do when it began, winning the Tour. And it has done so with two strong but different personalities.

It's hard to argue against that success. Only effective leadership could produce the results of the past two years, but it now appears that team manager David Brailsford has lost control of the situation and narrative, inviting everyone into having a say.

The professional peloton is now only a couple of weeks out from the 5 July Tour grand depart in Leeds and the speculation continues, with Riis the latest to weigh in.

As a former team owner and now manager, and long regarded as one of the canniest operators in the sport, Riis is well credentialed to offer an opinion on Sky's soap opera, though he may have his own motives for stoking the fires.

Taciturn and not usually prone to publicly airing an opinion, he has questioned the current team dynamics at Sky.

In comments made to Danish TV channel TV2 and excerpted by Sportal.com.au, Riis said, "First of all, I would like to say that Sky is not my team, fortunately.

"There's no doubt that I would have taken a different approach.

"It's a bit sad to see that it would take that turn and let it go that far. It would certainly not be acceptable on my team.

"Sky can of course do whatever they want but I strongly feel that it is a huge mistake if they do not have Wiggins."

All this while adding, "I have not seen (Alberto) Contador better with us."

The comments came after a less than strong performance by Wiggins at the Tour de Suisse, where he eventually abandoned due to illness and the effects of a crash.

However Wiggins has been strong for the majority of the season, and on any other team, based on on those early performances, would be a certain Tour starter.

Froome on the other hand looked beatable at the Criterium du Dauphine and in need of the powerhouse support someone like Wiggins could provide.

Wiggins has said that he is unlikely to be a starter in Leeds, however team manager Dave Brailsford has left the door slightly ajar to the possibility as he attempted to reassert leadership on what is a clearly fluid situation.

Froome's travails at the Dauphine are unlikely to make his decision any easier.

Wanting to see the best race possible with the strongest teams, global fan sentiment is strongly on Wiggin's side. But there must also be some momentum to have him there by the organisers of the grand depart.

It would be a public relations disaster that the Knighted man so strongly identified with British cycling, is not there.

Of course Riis is probably right, but he may also be playing a psychological game. After all he and Tinkoff-Saxo would in all likelihood be the beneficiary of any disunity at Sky should both Wiggins and Froome arrive in Leeds as team mates, perhaps with daggers drawn.

With a resurgent Contador in the ranks and armed with a depth of dedicated talent second to none, Riis is sitting pretty, but he will probably need more than that to derail the Sky train.

It's not enough to be second favourite to win the Tour so why not throw some additional fuel on to the fire, and perhaps goad your rivals into making a decision they may come to regret?

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