Ever since Froome played a key role last year in helping team-mate Bradley Wiggins become the first Briton to win cycling’s most prestigious road race there has been intense speculation as to which one of the riders would be in the ‘number one’ position for the 2013 edition.
Sky had previously said their challenge for this year’s tour would be built around Froome, a position Olympic champion Wiggins — whose main aim for 2013 was to win the Giro d’Italia that started on Saturday — appeared happy to accept.
However, Wiggins indicated recently he was keen to have a crack at both winning the Giro and defending his Tour de France title.
But in a bid to defuse the simmering row, Brailsford, in a statement posted on Sky’s website Monday, said Froome would be his team’s Tour de France leader.
“As always the team selection is a management decision and it will be evidence-based,” he told www.teamsky.com.
“However it is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader.
“Taking that into consideration and given Chris’ step up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January, is to have him lead the Tour de France team.”
Last month, Wiggins suggested Sky might have “joint leaders” for the Tour, saying: “At this stage, all being well, it may be that we end up joint leaders for that first week until the racing decides.
“Without racing against each other when we hit the mountains or whatever, the racing decides naturally who the leader becomes.
“It may be that we both stay in contention until that week, Chris wins the mountain stage, takes the yellow jersey, in which case there is a natural hierarchy there and then I try and finish second as he did last year.
“That may not happen — there may be a clear-cut leader before you get there. We will see,” he added.