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Team Sky's Froome eyes Tour leader role

PARIS (Reuters) - Chris Froome has hinted he could be given the nod as the leading rider for Team Sky's tilt at the Tour de France next year while defending champion Bradley Wiggins focuses on the Giro d'Italia.

Froome was confined to a supporting role to help Wiggins clinch Britain's first win in the Tour in July, but he appeared frustrated at having to wait for Wiggins in some mountain stages before eventually finishing runner-up.

Team Sky head coach Shane Sutton has already suggested Wiggins should focus on winning the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Spain next year.

Wiggins, 32, is looking to win all three Grand Tours before retiring and the 2013 Tour de France is likely to favor top climbers such as Froome, Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.

"I do not know yet if I will be able to ride two big Tours," the 27-year-old Froome told L'Equipe on Monday.

"I will only be able to seek one win and I have the Tour in mind. I think Bradley could be (the leader) on the Giro d'Italia and me on the Tour," he added.

"But we still have to wait for next year's programs and talk about this with the managers."

Froome believes he could have won the Tour this year had he not been serving as Wiggins' lieutenant.

"I am still convinced that I could have won," he added.

"But everything was clear within the team and I tried my best to do my job. I was not the chosen leader."

(Writing by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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