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Brailsford ready to help deliver a homegrown Tour de France winner

| 07.07.2014

Team Sky Principal Sir Dave Brailsford may be busy masterminding the defence of Chris Froome’s Tour de France crown at the moment but it has not stopped him thinking ahead about his next objective in the world of cycling.

It’s been well documented that a French rider has not claimed the famous yellow jersey since Bernard Hinault won the last of his five titles back in 1985.

And the British cycling supremo, who helped Sir Bradley Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour in 2012, fancies leading a French rider to win his home Tour at some point in the future.
“Yes I’d like to win with a French rider,” Brailsford told French sports newspaper L’Equipe.

“I think it needs to happen. For the Tour, for France, for the French, for the sport, having a French winner would be massive. I think about it often. France deserves a French winner.”

Brailsford, who was also the brains behind Froome’s Le Tour win last year, was Great Britain’s performance director at the Beijing and London Olympics in 2008 and 2012 and led the team to a record 16 Gold medals.

He helped form Team Sky in 2009 with the target of producing a British Tour winner within five years and at the end of that cycle he could have three maillot jaune winners if Froome, who is 5/6 with Ladbrokes for glory, can defend his crown on the French roads this summer.

But the 50-year-old is meticulous in his planning and gave a hint of his future plans by revealing the world’s biggest cycling race needed French glory.

“France is like my second home. And I know how passionate they are for the Tour,” said Brailsford.

“I have this niggling idea. We won the Tour with a British cyclist – but when are we going to see a French cyclist win the Tour?”

Romain Bardet finished 15th in the Tour last year and is currently 150/1 to win this year’s event, while 24-year-old Thibaut Pinot was 10th on his debut in 2012 but is as long as 200/1 to finish on top of the podium this time around.

But with the backing of Team Sky and the genius of Brailsford behind them it would not be a surprise to see either wearing yellow on the Champs Elysees in the future.

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Oliver Yew