Chris Froome ready to defend Tour de France title, insists he had no say in Bradley Wiggins’ omission (+ video)

Team Sky rider says he’s recovered from crash during last month’s Dauphiné

by Simon_MacMichael   July 3, 2014  

Chris Froome celebrates winning the 2013 Tour de France (picture copyright Simon Wilkinson:SWpix.com)

Tour de France champion Chris Froome says he’s ready to defend his title and insists he had no say in Sir Bradley Wiggins’ exclusion from Team Sky’s line-up from the race.

Speaking to the press in Leedds yesterday ahead of Saturday’s Grand Départ, Froome said he had made a full recovery from the injuries he sustained in a crash while leading the Critérium du Dauphiné, which caused him to lose time to rival Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo in the following days. The race was won by Andrew Talansky of Garmin-Sharp.

“I’m more or less recovered,” he said. “It definitely was a knock to me. It did take me a while to start feeling normal again on a bike after that crash. I’m confident that’s behind me now.”

He also maintained he had nothing to do with Wiggins’ absence from the race, saying: “Just to make it absolutely clear I do not have a role in selection.

“I do speak to [team principal] Dave Brailsford about generally the group of guys I’ve been racing with, but if you look at how a Tour team is generally selected, the guys doing a Tour will be doing altitude camps together quite early on in the season, racing together as a group.”

Wiggins and Froome have not raced together for almost 18 months, and last trained together on Mallorca at the start of this year.

Froome went on: “It would definitely change the dynamic of the team having Bradley on the team, but that’s bike racing; you’re not always going to be best friends with everyone on the team all the time.”

He also gave his reaction to yesterday’s news that Orica-GreenEdge’s Daryl Impey, his former Barloworld team mate and the man he took the yellow jersey from on Stage 8 of last year’s Tour, had tested positive for a banned diuretic that can be used as a masking agent.

Impey insists that he has never knowingly used the drug in question, Probenecid, nor any other banned substance.

Froome was himself the subject of controversy last month due to the issue to him of a therapeutic use exemption for a glucocorticosteroid during this year’s Tour de Romandie and his user of an inhaler during the Critérium du Dauphiné.

He said: “I did send him [Impey] a message when I found out this morning.

“I just said I was really shocked to read the news. And I hope things get resolved. Obviously I don’t really know the details of the case.

“I don’t know if it is something that can be resolved on his side or if it is 100% definite.

“Knowing Daryl’s character he has always been very outspoken against doping so it is a big shock to me.”

Meanwhile Team Sky and Jaguar have issued a teaser video for what they claim is a “world first” undertaken by Froome.

In the description, Sky says: “There's not many 'world first' achievements anymore, but we're delighted to say we've managed one with a little help from our friends at Jaguar. Can you guess what it is? Find out more on Monday 7 July...”

That’s the final day of the Tour’s visit to England before it heads back to France… and that does look very much like the Channel Tunnel’s service tunnel that Froome is about to ride through.

29 user comments

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Whilst we have only sound bites to go on, it seems like Froome is entrenched in his view that he and Wiggins can't work together. If that is the case, to "no role in team selection" is disingenuous.

This contrasts with Wiggin's assertion that he would work for Froome. I'm not a Sky or Wiggo fan boy at all, but I know who I'd rather work for (if only...), rather watch and root for.

posted by LJM [15 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 11:27

71 Likes

I would say a very well manicured and politically correct way of putting things Mr Froome, OK so you don't pick the team... but going to Sir Brailsford and saying... please please please I need Wiggo's help can I have him in the squad would surely of cemented a place for him, as apposed to... well I'm not sure I can work with Wiggo which would almost certainly bring the current outcome.

posted by mikeprytherch [219 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 11:40

67 Likes

Chris Froome is quoted as saying '...it wasn't me gov, honest... please don't hate me!'

Sky's PR team has been quoted as saying 'I'm sure we can squeeze a bit more coverage out of this story yet...'

I'm done with it.... lets get on with the tour, I'm sure it'll be a cracker as ever.

In other news, has anyone read interviews with Sky riders lately? Everything I have read has included muttered discontent in some form or other... not sure if thats journos putting their own interpretation on things, or that there will be a few british riders not renewing their contract....

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [279 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 11:58

56 Likes

To be honest Jimmy Ray I've had a suspicion growing this year that Sky Pro Cycling as a British team is a fading dream. Original aim - Win TdF in 5 years with a British rider. Done "twice" now and possibly third on the cards.

Sky/News International are a world brand so maybe time to get exposure in other markets - See 20th Century Fox logo on shorts.

Brailsford leaves BC for sole Sky role. Needed to be done for the sake of both organisations really but does mean that he has "cut" his ties to BC.

I suspect that fewer Brits will be offered contracts when current ones end and do wonder if Team Sky will die a death to become something else anyway - Team 20th Century Fox for example.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [391 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 13:06

52 Likes

[strokes chin]. Jimmy Hill!!

posted by andyp [887 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 13:43

35 Likes

In an age where most sport personalities are dull as sh*t so they don't offend anyone in their sponsors target markets, at least Wiggo was a personality. I'm guttied he won't be at the tour in Yorkshire, as should sky's PR department considering he's probably the only pro cyclist most brits know.

I've always been indifferent to sky and Froome, but considering sky were started to promote British talent but aren't taking either of the two British National champion's they have, mainly at the behest of a man who seems a bit slimey under his blank exterior and changed his passport for PR reasons. I now quite dislike them.

posted by cub [62 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 15:19

46 Likes

It's like Oasis vs Blur all over again... Yawn

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [217 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 15:25

31 Likes

Gosh an article on Froome talking about both Wiggo and about Drugs. Shock/Horror. Admittedly they are normally separate articles so I suppose compressing them saves some internet space....but Y A W N

You don't keep an inform, tour winning rider off the team unless someone has spat the dummy, end of. Wiggo, get out of there and ride for someone who has some loyalty in their bones.

Sky's PR efforts are a f***ing disaster machine.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [311 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 15:57

29 Likes

I'm relieved to be assured that all those 'disclosures' from Froome and his wife, about money and personality disputes with Wiggo, had absolutely nothing to do with Wiggo not being on the team. Phew!

posted by Joeinpoole [259 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 16:01

38 Likes

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

posted by arfa [494 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 16:14

36 Likes

LJM wrote:
Whilst we have only sound bites to go on, it seems like Froome is entrenched in his view that he and Wiggins can't work together. If that is the case, to "no role in team selection" is disingenuous.

This contrasts with Wiggin's assertion that he would work for Froome. I'm not a Sky or Wiggo fan boy at all, but I know who I'd rather work for (if only...), rather watch and root for.

It's both of them. They can't work with eachother. And Wiggo claiming that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth is even more disingenuous. He was the one holding back bonus payments due to Froome until Brailsford thretened to dock it from his salary if he didn't pay up.

It's a very simple calculation from Sky. The team isn't big enough for the both of them and they couldn't trust that the bad blood didn't affect the team. Froome is the defending champion. Ipso Facto Wiggo is out.

Perhaps one of them should consider a different team?

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [621 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 17:09

36 Likes

Simmo72 wrote:
Gosh an article on Froome talking about both Wiggo and about Drugs. Shock/Horror. Admittedly they are normally separate articles so I suppose compressing them saves some internet space....but Y A W N

You don't keep an inform, tour winning rider off the team unless someone has spat the dummy, end of. Wiggo, get out of there and ride for someone who has some loyalty in their bones.

Sky's PR efforts are a f***ing disaster machine.

For the record wiggo isn't in form unless it's an ITT , and please don't quote the ToC win because that was won via the ITT after which he lost time on Mount Diablo to craddock and machado plus Dennis none of which are GT contenders .....

As for who I'd rather watch.....froome all day long at least he knows how to attack on a road stage

posted by chiv30 [870 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 17:11

30 Likes

' He was the one holding back bonus payments due to Froome until Brailsford thretened to dock it from his salary if he didn't pay up.'

Who would blame him? Froome is lucky that Porte knows how to be a team player..

posted by andyp [887 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 18:17

34 Likes

I don't doubt that the Froome v Wiggins personality clash is down to them both. But, Wiggins does a better job of showing a willingness to work for the same thing as Froome, making him more appealing as a person. By which I mean now, not in the past, where they've both perpetuated the spat.

So in their business as entertainers, Wiggins gives us more more, I think, and so in that sense I would have preferred to see him involved in this year's race, with or without Froome.

But, I'm sure there are others who simply want to see another 'British' victory/Team Sky victory, in which case it may well be that Froome is the better option.

I'd also agree with the sentiment that we collectively forget the issue and look forward to an exciting Tour. And I am! But, it for me Froome keeps the case open with the manner in which he puts forward his story ie coming across as though he were full of shit! But, I guess how he chooses to be and to be remembered it's down to him.

posted by LJM [15 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 18:38

24 Likes

I don't know where people get the idea the Wiggins gives us more than Froome, I've never seen Wiggins do something remotely interesting in a race other than sit on a team-mate's wheel. At least Froome does stuff.

Wiggins may be more entertaining in interviews, but I watch bike racing for the racing and not the interviews. All this psycho analysis from 3rd hand sources is utter bollocks. The race is where it's at.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [486 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 19:17

30 Likes

Cooks wrote:
I don't know where people get the idea the Wiggins gives us more than Froome, I've never seen Wiggins do something remotely interesting in a race other than sit on a team-mate's wheel. At least Froome does stuff.

You're right Froome probably is more exciting in a race than Wiggins, but the choice wasn't between Wiggins and Froome, it was between only Froome or both of them. Having both is a lot more interesting than only one in interviews and during racing. It would be very interesting to see how Wiggins rode during the tour and whether he worked for Froome, an opportunity sky have denied us.

Then if there were going to be fireworks between them we've missed out on something even better.

posted by cub [62 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 19:45

22 Likes

You guy's take this all too seriously! Can you honestly say you have never fallen out with someone? How does the work dynamic go when people hate each other? Not well thats how. Certainly not well enough to win one of the demanding endurance events in the world.

Froome has the best chance to win and the best team was chosen to get him there physically AND mentally.

I can see it now, Bradley Wiggins super domestic! Not likely, que massive bust up, Team Sky getting ripped apart left right and centre by other teams, unhappy sponsor, Brailsford head on a block all because he pandered to the country's wishes for a commercial cycling team......

Best think Brad can do is win some more gold medals, beat Tony Martin at the worlds and retire gracefully and join the GCN crew.

He can still hold his head high that he is the first British and only British Born winner of the Tour de France. (even if his support rider was stronger and probably could have one it also)...

I also strongly believe more cheese needs to be given away at european races....

posted by Nzlucas [89 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 19:57

24 Likes

Having both in the team when one is clearly not in form to start with would give the press, especially the froggies, something to bleat on and on about and would naturally cause upset / concern within the team which is not wanted or needed.

Sky have picked the best team regardless of the fact its being held in the UK to start with.

The Sky name wont live forever but whilst its name is bringing in the money for the parent company i dont think anything will change other than the riders and to be honest if the brits aren't good enough for the team so be it. I would rather see the team doing well and winning GT's than having a team full of brits who very rarely win anything because thats when Sky will up and leave and without a major sponsor there will be no team.

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2751 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 20:01

24 Likes

I find neither of them particularly exciting to watch, purely as bike racers; There are other Sky riders I'd rather watch, including Thomas, Swift and Kennaugh. But they're not the GC contenders...

But for me, the post race interviews are as much a part of watching races as the commentary is, enriching the prescribed view of the race offered by the cameramen and the broadcasters. So yes, I think the personality of the guys does play a part in the audience experience of bike racing.

I think there's certainly a place for a good villain in sport, bad boys and mavericks too. But Froome ain't one of them; the only thing about him to raise a smile on my face is this:

http://chrisfroomelookingatstems.tumblr.com/

posted by LJM [15 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 21:09

23 Likes

Nzlucas wrote:

He can still hold his head high that he is the first British and only British Born winner of the Tour de France. (even if his support rider was stronger and probably could have one it also)...

I also strongly believe more cheese needs to be given away at european races....

British born you say, born in Belgium with an Australian father.

Wink

I do agree that there should be more cheese given away.

posted by wwfcb [69 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 22:26

25 Likes

I can only hope one of Froome's lieutenants goes off message and shafts him in the back the way he did in 2012....

posted by PRINCIPIA PHIL [51 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 22:34

22 Likes

PRINCIPIA PHIL wrote:
I can only hope one of Froome's lieutenants goes off message and shafts him in the back the way he did in 2012....

oh come on, everyone knows Froome could have won that tour had he been given his head. He pushed on on one mountain and showed that Wiggins was not to his standard and then when told to stop he did and guided Wiggins home, hardly shafting someone in the back is it ?????

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2751 posts]
4th July 2014 - 8:18

25 Likes

Leaving out a racer who has previously won La Tour speaks volumes. The party line seems to be that the team selected is the strongest possible to win..and a recent winner is not good enough to make it in. Clearly that is not the case. It would seem that the only conclusion possible is that Wiggins' inclusion would be disruptive to team harmony. While that is a huge insult to BW, we know not if it is true or false. It's also impossible to think that Froome had no say at all on the selection.

The disappointing thing for me is that Sky were supposed to be a new and different type of team. This political bs is what has happened for many decades and I expected better of them.

posted by Beaufort [160 posts]
4th July 2014 - 9:04

18 Likes

Sky are in cycling to win, simple as that and to be honest as much as i like Wiggins, he's a brilliant TT rider, but hardly what you would call a mile after mile front of the peloton climber like Nieve or Lopez which is what is needed to win a GT.

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2751 posts]
4th July 2014 - 10:17

20 Likes

stumps wrote:
PRINCIPIA PHIL wrote:
I can only hope one of Froome's lieutenants goes off message and shafts him in the back the way he did in 2012....

oh come on, everyone knows Froome could have won that tour had he been given his head. He pushed on on one mountain and showed that Wiggins was not to his standard and then when told to stop he did and guided Wiggins home, hardly shafting someone in the back is it ?????

That's exactly what it is.

posted by andyp [887 posts]
4th July 2014 - 12:09

22 Likes

I think the key point, that is stimulating the debate, is the less than 100% honesty and clarity; fine, they're out to win and to do so you select the team that will function the best, the best combination. Ok, the person deemed most capable of winning a particular race may be the starting point, the corner stone of that combination.

But I think the fans (I mean in general, not specifically Team Sky/Froome/Wiggins fans) deserve to be treated with respect and told the truth. After all, we know enough (not least via Froome's book) to see that all is not what they say it is.

posted by LJM [15 posts]
4th July 2014 - 12:44

19 Likes

LJM wrote:
But I think the fans (I mean in general, not specifically Team Sky/Froome/Wiggins fans) deserve to be treated with respect and told the truth.

I think they're a professional racing team and, same as any other team, deserve to be allowed to make their own decisions without expounding every damn detail of why they did it to the entire known universe and, in particular, their professional rivals.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [412 posts]
4th July 2014 - 12:58

18 Likes

andyp wrote:
stumps wrote:
PRINCIPIA PHIL wrote:
I can only hope one of Froome's lieutenants goes off message and shafts him in the back the way he did in 2012....

oh come on, everyone knows Froome could have won that tour had he been given his head. He pushed on on one mountain and showed that Wiggins was not to his standard and then when told to stop he did and guided Wiggins home, hardly shafting someone in the back is it ?????

That's exactly what it is.

Utter rubbish, if he had gone on and won the stage and left Wiggins trailing in and ultimately lost the yellow jersey then yes but howah man he rode on a maybe 50 metres before being told to stop. If thats backstabbing you live quite a sheltered life mate.

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2751 posts]
4th July 2014 - 19:29

12 Likes

It's possible to play your cards close to your chest, without being, at best, disingenuous.

posted by LJM [15 posts]
5th July 2014 - 7:52

7 Likes