Chris Froome says he'll work to Team Sky plan in next summer's Tour de France - whatever it is

Kenya-born rider says he and Wiggins could form two-pronged attack in next year's race

by Simon_MacMichael   December 17, 2012  

Chris Froome at 2013 Tour de France launch (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Chris Froome, runner-up to Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France in July, has said that he will follow whatever plan Team Sky devises for next year’s 100th edition of the race, even if that means playing second fiddle to his team mate again.

After the route of the 2013 Tour was announced in Paris in late October, Sky team principal Dave Brailsford said that Froome would spearhead its challenge when the race gets under way on Corsica on 29 June, with Wiggins targeting the Giro d’Italia instead and playing a supporting role in the Tour.

However, Wiggins, named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2013 last night, has now said that he wants to defend his title and is also aiming to complete a Giro and Tour double in the same season – a feat not achieved since the late Marco Pantani managed it in 1998.

“The main focus for next year will be the Tour for me. It’s a course which plays to my strengths,” Froome told Metro.

“I can only do so much and that’s to make sure I’m in the best position possible to be competitive,” he went on

‘When we get to the Tour we’re going to have to go with whatever plan the team has got.

“If it’s to back Bradley, back myself, or go in with a two-pronged attack – whatever that position would be. I’m quite sure all of us are professional enough to go along with that.”

Froome acknowledges that such a strategy does carry risks, and certainly during this year’s Tour many people sharing their thoughts about it on Twitter perceived a rift between the riders – an exchange of tweets between their respective partners after Froome appeared to attack Wiggins on Stage 11 pouring fuel on the fire.

Wiggins’ performances in the two time trials at the Tour provided firm evidence that Sky had backed the right horse.

As Brailsford pointed out, his ability to deal with the added pressures of being race leader, not least the obligatory post-stage press conferences the maillot jaune must attend, had been forged during his earlier victories in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine.

Froome himself spent a day in the race leader’s jersey in the 2011 Vuelta but team orders meant he had to work for Wiggins the following day, surrendering the top spot in the GC to his colleague.

The Kenya-born Briton would finish the race second overall to Juan Jose Cobo with Wiggins third, and many insist that had Sky given him their full backing, he could have become the first British Grand Tour winner.

Others point out that since he Froome, aged 27, is five years younger than Wiggins, time is on his side and he will get his chance.

Reflecting on both he and Wiggins potentially targeting victory in the Tour next year, Froome acknowledged: “It would have to be planned very carefully.

“You would have to make sure there’s no conflict or it’s not going to split the team in any way. But it’s definitely a possibility. I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

Froome rode this year’s Tour as a supporting rider to Wiggins from the outset, as he had done in those stage races earlier in the season.

However, his own chances of a high finish on GC encountered a setback on the opening road stage when he suffered a puncture inside the closing kilometres, losing nearly a minute and a half to his team mate.

By the time the Tour finished in Paris, Froome had overhauled everyone bar Wiggins, won the first summit finish of the race on La Planche des Belles Filles, and he would go on to clinch Olympic bronze in the time trial in London.

Some 12 months earlier, Wiggins had crashed out of the Tour with a broken collarbone during the opening week.

With the first few days of next summer’s race certain to see the usual nervousness within the peloton and resulting crashes, it’s therefore  a as much an insurance policy as it is a dilemma for Sky that they have two riders each capable of winning the overall title.

“It just goes to show what strength we have in numbers at the moment,” Froome highlighted. “And what a pleasure to be in that position."

Next summer, whoever leads Sky will have to deal with the challenge of Alberto Contador, likely to return to the race after being banned this year. The Spaniard returned to competition in August and the following month won the Vuelta, outclassing a field including Froome, who finished fourth overall.

“It’s going to be a tough Tour," Froome concluded. "The competition is going to be a step harder than this year. Everyone’s going to be out to win it.”

24 user comments

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It all sounds good coming just now.....Wait till the tour.

Wiggo and Froome going up a climb like this year, Wiggo steady tempo, Froome knows he can out climbing him, dancing on the pedals while everyone else drops back.

Will Froome really sit back and wait, after all, how many more chances is he going to get and Wiggo's already had a turn at winning.....BOOM, Bye Froomy as he shoots off, only to be seen again at the finish line Big Grin

Thats how I want to see it pan out. With Wiggo taking the Giro, Then JTL taking the Vuelta Nerd

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posted by Gkam84 [8137 posts]
18th December 2012 - 2:39

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No matter how strong Wiggo is, I prefer Froome's explosive style of climbing. Much more exciting to watch.

I'm also quite surprised to see how Sky's tactics shift towards full support for Wiggo instead of a more balanced plan. This might end up in a conflict, which could lead to both riders losing the race just because of their personal ambitions. It's going to be interesting to see how it works out eventually.

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

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posted by mikroos [165 posts]
18th December 2012 - 7:32

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Whatever happens or whatever's said now, Brailsford and Shane Sutton will go for the plan that gives Sky the best shot at winning both Giro and the Tour. Riders' personal ambitions won't factor into that decision. Wiggo will go for the Giro - that's incontestabble. I suspect in the end Froome will be the leader at the Tour with Wiggo as Plan B. God knows anything can happen between now and then, or as the race unfolds. Not to mention Froome's susceptibility to that bleeding bilharzia...

posted by Sam1 [206 posts]
18th December 2012 - 8:16

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Having read a bit of Wiggo's recent book I get the sense that saying he will defend the tour is a bit of mind games. There is surely no way he can attempt to target the giro and the tour in the same year. It was different days when Pantani was racing as we all know. If Wiggo gets the giro and then claims to be leader for the tour I suspect he is just being a good team leader and taking the pressure away for Froome to lead the tour team with Wiggo as the fall back should Froome suffer the same fate as Wiggo in 2011. In the first few chapters of his book it is fairly clear that Wiggo understands (now - not in 2010) how to be the senior member of a team and to absorb the pressure and lead the rest of the team.

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posted by op1983 [45 posts]
18th December 2012 - 8:45

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I dont think there is any love lost between Wiggo and Froomey. Wiggo's body language towards Froomey was pretty clear to me from what I saw. Whatever happens in 2013 between these two is going to be very interesting indeed.

posted by Critchio [95 posts]
18th December 2012 - 10:04

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op1983 wrote:
There is surely no way he can attempt to target the giro and the tour in the same year. It was different days when Pantani was racing as we all know.

The Giro's route this year does make it a bit more of a possibility but it's still a tall order. Will be interesting to see if Contador's plans include enough steak to do both!

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
18th December 2012 - 10:07

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No worries; because Contador is going to spoil the Sky Party.

I'd back Wiggins for overall positioning.

posted by Mostyn [387 posts]
18th December 2012 - 10:17

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The man is a complete gentleman and if Wiggo goes for the Giro which is 99.9% ceetain he wont be in any shape for the Tour.

He will play the part as team leader, wearing the number 1, but it will be Froome who is going to win, 100% certain of that.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2427 posts]
18th December 2012 - 10:28

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I hope Stumps has it right here, I don't want to see conflict. It just degrades the most methodical, systematic pro-team into some weird reality TV show with bickering stars.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
18th December 2012 - 10:53

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Mostyn wrote:
No worries; because Contador is going to spoil the Sky Party.

I'd back Wiggins for overall positioning.

Completely agree.

posted by Super Domestique [1506 posts]
18th December 2012 - 10:54

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I knew someone would mention Steak; you lot have been Rumping on about poor old Bertie. I bet he is Stewing away in the Flank. But he will show a Thick flank, while the Sky boys are Legging it Topside. He will move Brisketly to the Silverside; he has some Neck you know! The Sky lot could be stuck in the Sirloin and Chuck it in! What they need to do is resist digs in the Rib and Shin and resist the good Grilling!

posted by SideBurn [731 posts]
18th December 2012 - 11:19

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I don't particularly want to see a tour with

notfastenough wrote:
the most methodical, systematic pro-team
. In cycling I'm not at all nationalistic and I'm far more interested in seeing an exciting tour rather than a one horse race.

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posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
18th December 2012 - 11:27

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I think the Giro will take the best out of Wiggo, he will then ride as 'Leader' to deflect attention from Froome - act as a diversion for the likes of Contador, Sagan, Nibali and Evans whilst Froome works away to overall victory in true clinical scientific Sky style.

At the end of the day, as long as there is no public fallings out, Froome and Wiggins control their other halves mouths on twitter and they do their jobs properly, I wont be complaining if we finish the season with Wiggins winning the Giro, Froome the Tour, and JTL finishing top 10 in the Vuelta!

Strax

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posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
18th December 2012 - 13:40

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One has to suspect this is all mind games (to some extent at least). Having 2 riders who could win must be a good position to be in. The course would seem to favour Froome over BW. It should certainly be a more interesting Tour as new blood comes through.

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posted by bikeandy61 [361 posts]
18th December 2012 - 13:59

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SideBurn wrote:
I knew someone would mention Steak; you lot have been Rumping on about poor old Bertie. I bet he is Stewing away in the Flank. But he will show a Thick flank, while the Sky boys are Legging it Topside. He will move Brisketly to the Silverside; he has some Neck you know! The Sky lot could be stuck in the Sirloin and Chuck it in! What they need to do is resist digs in the Rib and Shin and resist the good Grilling!

Burger off with your silly puns. Wink

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [642 posts]
18th December 2012 - 14:02

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stumps wrote:
...it will be Froome who is going to win, 100% certain of that.

You must be a betting man, then. Or you ought to be Wink

posted by step-hent [638 posts]
18th December 2012 - 14:04

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TheHatter wrote:
I don't particularly want to see a tour with
notfastenough wrote:
the most methodical, systematic pro-team
. In cycling I'm not at all nationalistic and I'm far more interested in seeing an exciting tour rather than a one horse race.

I'm sitting on the fence there, all I'm saying is that any team should have a clear strategy that all participants follow - the fact that it's the clinical, super-efficient team just makes them look amateur.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
18th December 2012 - 14:48

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It will be interesting to see what happens, but am I getting old or can I remember a year ago Sky talking about a two pronged attack with Cav going for green and Wiggo for yellow ?

I suppose it will all come clear in July. I hope they do give Froome his day in the sun, I agree with some of the other posters, he and JTL have got a lot more exciting aggressive style.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [254 posts]
18th December 2012 - 15:47

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I predict the first wearer of the yellow jersey on the 2013 TDF will be a Englishman, er cancel that, a Manxman, Cav in Yellow in Bastia!

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [218 posts]
18th December 2012 - 20:20

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Sideburn, I trust those comments were tongue in cheek?

Sorry, that was an offal pun.

posted by FMOAB [217 posts]
19th December 2012 - 2:08

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It sounds like the Isle of man is an outpost of Scouseland to me.

David Bowie agrees with me

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posted by bikeboy76 [1047 posts]
19th December 2012 - 2:10

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Surely Sky would be best served looking at a way to win the race first before deciding which of their riders should be in yellow?

There are a lot of contenders and a lot of work needed before Wiggo and Froome can sort out who is leader.

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posted by jimmythecuckoo [1185 posts]
19th December 2012 - 12:37

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jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
I think the Giro will take the best out of Wiggo, he will then ride as 'Leader' to deflect attention from Froome.quote]

Couldn't agree more, plus he has to say he is giving it a go to honour the yellow jersey he won this year. The defending champ saying he is gonna slack off the tour is not great etiquette.

posted by Manx Rider [18 posts]
19th December 2012 - 13:06

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FMOAB wrote:
Sideburn, I trust those comments were tongue in cheek?

Sorry, that was an offal pun.

I don't like to Mince my words
But he was neatly Filleted! Medium rare of course...

posted by SideBurn [731 posts]
20th December 2012 - 5:34

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