(Reuters) - Getting pre-race favorite Bradley Wiggins into the leader's yellow jersey and keeping him there all the way to the Champs Elysees is the priority for Team Sky in this year's Tour de France, the team said on Thursday.
Wiggins will lead the British team in cycling's most prestigious race which begins in Liege, Belgium on June 30 with sprinter Mark Cavendish, a winner of 20 stages over the last four years, happy to take a back seat.
"Our priority this year is the General Classification with Bradley," Team SKY team principal Dave Brailsford said in a statement.
"But that doesn't mean we'll neglect the sprint stages or Mark's bid for green jersey."
Wiggins enters his sixth Tour de France as one of the favorites after a hugely successful 12 months where he has achieved a podium finish in every race he has entered.
Strengthening his status is the absence of the 2010 Tour winner, Luxembourg's Andy Schleck, who withdrew from the race after suffering a fractured pelvis in the Criterium du Dauphine on June 7.
"I've been waiting for this moment for a long time and I'll do everything I can to win the Tour de France," Wiggins said.
Cavendish, who is in his first year as a Team Sky rider, is resigned to the fact a change in the team's priorities would mean less chance of personal glory in 2012.
"I know the push for the GC podium will make it more difficult for me to repeat the success I've enjoyed the last few years," he said.
"But I'll compete and - as always - I'll dedicate myself to making it a successful Tour for Team Sky."
(Writing by Tom Bartlett; Editing by John Mehaffey)