Sir Bradley Wiggins would not have replaced Chris Froome as Team Sky's Tour de France leader had he been included in the nine-man squad, insists team principle Sir David Brailsford.
Froome was forced to withdraw from this year's race after crashing twice during the fifth stage with a wrist injury on a rain-soaked Wednesday with Australian Richie Porte stepping into to lead the team in his absence.
2012 champion Wiggins was omitted from Team Sky having failed to race alongside Froome all season. However, the inclusion of the Olympic gold medallist would have had no bearing on the decision to name Porte team leader in the event a Froome injury, Brailsford confirmed, with Welsh rider Geraint Thomas next in the pecking order.
"We have got a fantastic plan B in Richie, and G (Thomas)," Brailsford told Sky Sports News. "Richie is going ever so well and if Brad had have been here, Richie would have been our plan B and I think people should realise that.
"You make decisions at the moment in time with the best intent and the right thoughts behind it and you stick with it - that's life.
"I think he [Porte] can go a really, really long way in the race. It's all still to play for and I think if we are patient, we manage ourselves properly, then we are still very much in the mix."
In the absence of Froome, Porte crossed the finishing line of stage six among the leading pack but remains one minute and 45 seconds behind leader Vincenzo Nibali of Astana in the overall classification.
Andre Greipel of Lotto-Belisol was the victor in Reims but the harsh conditions claimed more victims, including Team Sky's Xabier Zandio who was forced to quit the race, along with Tinkoff-Saxo's Jesus Hernandez.