Wiggins unsure on Tour de France as he nears Tour of California win

The 2012 Tour de France winner enters Sunday's final stage of the Tour of California with a fair lead and said it's up to Chris Froome if he'll join the Sky team at the 2014 Tour de France.
Sir Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain riding for Team Sky rides with the peloton during Stage 7 of the 2014 Tour of California from Santa Clarita to Pasadena on Saturday. Ezra Shaw / Getty Images / AFP / May 17, 2014
Sir Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain riding for Team Sky rides with the peloton during Stage 7 of the 2014 Tour of California from Santa Clarita to Pasadena on Saturday. Ezra Shaw / Getty Images / AFP / May 17, 2014

Bradley Wiggins said Saturday he still doesn’t know if he will ride in the Tour de France.

“I’d love to be on the start in Britain,” said Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France champion. “But it’s about Chris (Froome) being confident in the team.”

Froome, Wiggins’ teammate on Sky, won last year when Wiggins did not compete.

Froome finished second to Wiggins in the 2012 race.

The Tour de France begins July 5 in Yorkshire.

“It’s very much Chris’ team,” said Wiggins, the Tour of California leader entering the final stage Sunday. “It depends on who he wants around him. We have such a deep team. I’ve been on the path for (Paris Roubaix) and this (Tour of Califorrnia), and I haven’t really known what would come after this.”

The 34-year-old British rider, the 2012 Olympic time trial winner, is in his last year of his current contract with Sky.

On Saturday, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, who rode the inaugural Dubai Tour earlier this year, won the seventh stage of the Tour of California in a field sprint as Wiggins closed in on the overall title.

Sagan, riding for Cannondale, jumped to the front just after the final corner to win the 88.7-mile (142.7-kilometre) Santa Clarita road race in 3hrs, 24mins, 33secs.

“Finally, I got another one,” said Sagan, a four-time Tour de France stage winner who claimed his 11th career win at the Tour of California and the 66th victory of his career. “We pulled at the front all day until the finish. It was an important win for the team and for me.”

With his victory secure with about 50 yards left, Sagan, known for his animated victory celebrations, raised his hands off his handlebars and appeared to be playing the piano.

“I was just waving to the fans,” Sagan said.

Wiggins finished in the main field to maintain his 30-second lead over Australia’s Rohan Dennis of Garmin-Sharp. American Lawson Craddock of Giant-Shimano remained third overall, 1:48 back.

“It was a relatively straightforward stage,” said Wiggins, who has held the race lead for a week since winning the Stage-2 time trial. “We didn’t have to do too much. But it was a pretty fast and tough run-in to the finish. You always have to aware of a breakaway or a crash.”

Norway’s Thor Hushovd of BMC was second in the stage, followed by Dutchman Danny Van Poppel of the Trek team.

There were no changes at the top of the overall standings, with all of the top-10 finishing in the front group.

Luis Romero of Cuba of the Jamis-Hagens Berman squad bolted to the front and raised his arms in victory as he crossed the line. But Romero had only finished two of the 3.1-mile (5-kilometre) circuits. He was absorbed by the field and eventually finished 18th in the stage.

Garmin-Sharp’s Ben King of the United States and Belgian Greg Van Avermaet of BMC entered the final circuits with about a 15-second lead but were caught with about five miles left.

The 720-mile (1160-kilometre) event, which began May 11 in Sacramento, concludes Sunday in Thousand Oaks with a 76.1-mile (122.5-kilometre) circuit race. The field will ride three 21-mile (34-kilometre) circuits each with a 910-foot (277-metre) ascent, followed by three 4.6-mile (7.4-kilometre) circuits around Westlake Lake.

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Published: May 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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