Back Froome at the Tour de France, Sutton tells Wiggins

Defending champion's mentor and father figure says he must follow team orders

by Simon_MacMichael   May 26, 2013  

2013 Tour of Oman Stage 5 Wiggins looking after Froome (© Lloyd Images:Muscat Muncipality)

Shane Sutton has told Sir Bradley Wiggins that he needs to get behind Chris Froome’s bid to succeed him as Tour de France champion when this year’s race gets under way on Corsica in five weeks’ time.

The Australian, whom Wiggins has described as a father figure, was a key member of the Team Sky backroom staff that helped the 33-year-old win the maillot jaune last year, but has since stepped down from that role. He continues to act as an advisor to Sir Dave Brailsford at British Cycling.

Sutton, who has a reputation for straight talking, says Wiggins, whose Giro d’Italia challenge ended halfway through the race as a result of illness, must follow team orders in France, even if that means sacrificing his own ambitions of defending his title.

“I think that, at this moment in time, you base it on the evidence before you and Froome will be the nominated rider,” said Sutton, quoted on Mail Online. “Bradley will just have to settle for a support role.”

“Froome has won continually this year,” continued Sutton. “I think just about every race he has ridden he has won.”

The 28-year-old has secured overall victories at the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and the Tour de Romandie. He was also runner-up to Astana's Vincenzo Nibali at Tirenno-Adriatico.

“Brad hasn’t had a win since last August so I think the team will very much be getting behind Chris, as Chris did with Brad last year,” Sutton went on.

“If Brad is riding the Tour and is over his illnesses and whatever, he will have to get behind the team. I think, if we can get that good dynamic environment in there for us and they can forget the past, we can push for another win in the Tour,” he concluded.

Froome finished runner-up to Wiggins in last year's race, which saw episodes of apparent tension between the riders including what many interpreted as an attack by the younger man on his team mate during Stage 11 - an incident which gave rise to a public spat on Twitter between their respective partners - and Froome waiting for Wiggins towards the end of Stage 17, instead of heading off to chase the day's winner, Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.

Our Sunday Question on our Facebook page is “Wiggins or Froome?” Head over here to join the debate.

32 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

nice, seanboy. That's the Froome whose ego wouldn't let him work for Wiggins in last year's Tour?

posted by andyp [1073 posts]
26th May 2013 - 16:26

1 Like

Tell froome to do one, and wiggo ride for himself!

posted by TheDoctor [84 posts]
26th May 2013 - 17:42

3 Likes

Strongest rider should get the support. So that's Froome. Then Uran. Then Porte. Then Henao. Then Wiggins.

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

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [492 posts]
26th May 2013 - 18:14

2 Likes

Strongest rider on June 29 should/will get the support, that's all there is to it.

posted by andyp [1073 posts]
26th May 2013 - 18:31

1 Like

Or maybe Sutton should just keep his big mouth shut?

posted by paulfg42 [379 posts]
26th May 2013 - 19:06

1 Like

andyp wrote:
nice, seanboy. That's the Froome whose ego wouldn't let him work for Wiggins in last year's Tour?

LMAO... What Tour did you watch? The one the rest of the world showed Froome to be the strongest rider with so little ego he sat up and waited for Wiggins SEVERAL times instead of heading off to take the victory for himself. Wiggins' ego has already cost Froome two Grand Tour titles because Froome loyally continued to rider for Wiggins long after everyone knew who the stronger rider was. If Froome's ego was 1/10th the size of Wiggins, Froome would have a Vuelta win, a Tour win, and be working on his second Tour title at this point...

Quit sucking up to Sir Bradley and check back in with the facts...

posted by badbadleroybrown [17 posts]
26th May 2013 - 21:52

2 Likes

Makes sense, the rider with some good results this season and looks like they are in form in the few weeks leading up to the TdF should be designated leader with the rest of the team working towards that goal. If thing change then the leadership role can change, as in the Giro.

Je vie dans l'espoir constant

Strathlubnaig's picture

posted by Strathlubnaig [115 posts]
26th May 2013 - 23:35

2 Likes

I don't think Froome will even need Wiggo. He'll leave him puffing up some mountain road like he should have done last year. Nerd

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
27th May 2013 - 1:06

5 Likes

Wow let's not get into a spat over a supposed spat!

Wiggins is on record as saying he would ride in support of Froome if the course suited him better.

Of course it's tough supporting someone when you feel you are as capable. That's bike racing, so much suffering and sacrifice for the main rider.

posted by moonbucket [55 posts]
27th May 2013 - 8:19

2 Likes

Keeping the other teams guessing is all part of the tactical game... surely?

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
27th May 2013 - 9:09

1 Like

They both seriously lack panache on the bike Surprise undoubtedly great athletes but we need more interesting attacking riders like in the past, just drug free! Thinking

posted by RussFar66 [14 posts]
27th May 2013 - 9:14

3 Likes

RussFar66 wrote:
They both seriously lack panache on the bike Surprise undoubtedly great athletes but we need more interesting attacking riders like in the past, just drug free! Thinking

Froome is an "interesting attacking rider". You just have to look at the Criterium International. Froome took off on the final climb and left everyone for dead.

He has that climbing spurt which the likes of Contador had before his ban and its drug free.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
27th May 2013 - 10:21

2 Likes

Am I the only one who thinks that this is all hype?

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [147 posts]
27th May 2013 - 10:33

2 Likes

badbadleroybrown wrote:
andyp wrote:
nice, seanboy. That's the Froome whose ego wouldn't let him work for Wiggins in last year's Tour?

LMAO... What Tour did you watch? The one the rest of the world showed Froome to be the strongest rider with so little ego he sat up and waited for Wiggins SEVERAL times instead of heading off to take the victory for himself. Wiggins' ego has already cost Froome two Grand Tour titles because Froome loyally continued to rider for Wiggins long after everyone knew who the stronger rider was. If Froome's ego was 1/10th the size of Wiggins, Froome would have a Vuelta win, a Tour win, and be working on his second Tour title at this point...

Quit sucking up to Sir Bradley and check back in with the facts...


Spot on.

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

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [492 posts]
27th May 2013 - 11:09

2 Likes

'They both seriously lack panache on the bike..'

Tommy Voeckler has genuine panache - but it doesn't win him grand tours. It's a shame that the power meter softly softly catchy monkey approach is the new system but less doping has taken much of the unpredictability out of it for sure.

With Movistar, Cannondale and perhaps Astana mimicking Team Sky's marginals approach the new game to break the deadlock of steady average speed might be throwing GC contenders off the front on mountain stages - so I wouldn't worry too much - watching Porte and Froome this year panache might be making s come back sooner than you think.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1093 posts]
27th May 2013 - 11:19

5 Likes

I think it's funny how everyone slates Sky for creating the "boring" controlled team style. As I remember it USPS/Discovery used it to win 7 Tours. Admittedly they as we now know for sure, were doping which is probably why LA could put in spectacular mountain rides at times. I suspect if they ridden clean their style would have been exactly like Sky look now. I also suspect that they'd have still won some if not all 7. It always baffled me how long it has taken another squad to follow the same principle. It's time to accept the way to win Grand Tours is mostly down too consistency not panache. As much as we love the Tommy Vs of this world for all Marc Madiot moans they are unlikely to win. Or if they do everyone starts to question the outcome. Have a look at the posts about Niballi' s Giro victory.

As for Froome winning last year. So he left Brad struggling at times. Some see this as proof he'd have won the overall. It ain't proof. Anything could have happened. For on thing the team might have totally rejected supporting him due to orders or at least split along loyalty lines which probably would have meant neither winning. 2011 at the Vuelta was not the same as Le Tour 2012.

And no one can win a Grand Tour, TdF especially, on their own.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [399 posts]
27th May 2013 - 13:18

1 Like

Form is fine, but as soon as the tour route was unveiled it was Froome's leadership. Its a mountainous tour with less TTing and suits Froome far more than it does Wiggins.
Last year Frrome was the better climber and Wiggins the better TT rider. This year the better climber will surely win.
With Wiggins looking mentally unsettled, without a win and having had a poor Giro (for whatever reason) and Froome looking every inch the leader and winner, the choice is no choice at all.
The decision really is whether to have Wiggins on the team. In all likelihood he will be, if toys are kept in prams, as its disrespectful to leave out a defending champ. But if the public spats worsen, they may be forced to leave out Wiggo.
Brad's best bet now is to use a mountainous Vuelta (Porte wouldn't be overjoyed) as a World's springboard. Even then the road race suits Froome more, so a tilt at the TT rainbow bands may be a year saver. Apart from that, what is he motivated for? 2014 and Yorkshire...
How quickly a year passes.

www.vulpine.cc
@aslongasicycle
@vulpinecc
@HOYvulpine

aslongasicycle's picture

posted by aslongasicycle [331 posts]
27th May 2013 - 13:32

2 Likes

I know, lets have a race to decide. Best make it a nice long one so it is clear who the best man is.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
27th May 2013 - 17:01

3 Likes

bikeboy76 wrote:
I know, lets have a race to decide. Best make it a nice long one so it is clear who the best man is.

Flat one or hilly one?

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

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [492 posts]
27th May 2013 - 17:41

2 Likes

seanboy wrote:
if wiggins is any kind of a right man,he will support froome,thats if his ego will let him,i have my doubts
What seanboy said and show himself to have more class than Froome. It's a team sport ,he will get so much respect for doing it the right way and not backstabbimg.

posted by cuski22 [7 posts]
27th May 2013 - 18:36

2 Likes

What I don't understand is everyone who thinks they know Wiggins or Froome or what motivates them. You don't know these people. What huge act of hubris have you seen Wiggo commit that he is no longer deserving of your support? Should he be concerned what you think oh internet director sportif?
Some of you seem to conflate successful professional athlete with massive egotist.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
27th May 2013 - 19:10

2 Likes

There's not many successful professional athletes who don't have some sort of ego - it comes with the determination to win, you have to believe in yourself and you have to assert that authority over your competitors.

Anyway, that aside - Froome is plan A, Wiggo plan B. I don't doubt this for a second. The team will work for those two, and by the time the first mountain pass is crested, I'd assume Froome will have a slight time advantage. They'll have such a strong team of climbers that they'll most likely be able to shelter both riders 90% of the time.

Good luck to them both, and remember that same-team rivalry is a grand tradition of the tour. It should be lots of fun.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
27th May 2013 - 19:42

3 Likes

I'll be supporting froome, don't think wiggo will work for him think he would be best lying low for the tour, getting his motivation back and targeting something else the world hour maybe

posted by kylemalco [33 posts]
27th May 2013 - 21:22

1 Like

The route looks good for Wiggins to get into the yellow jersey first though. He's not going to do big turns on the front and will finish with the same time as Froome in the early stages.

The TT could see him get into yellow which leaves the team with a real dilemma at that point - do you actually decide not to defend the jersey and allow your own rider(s) to attack him?

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
28th May 2013 - 7:52

2 Likes

Is there anyone else riding the 'Tour'?

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1016 posts]
28th May 2013 - 8:23

2 Likes

antonio wrote:
Is there anyone else riding the 'Tour'?

Yes, Mark Cavendish, but he will struggle to keep with Wiggins and Froome in the mountains.

Pretty sure I heard that on a certain breakfast TV show's daily sports round-up last year Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8503 posts]
28th May 2013 - 8:49

3 Likes

seanboy wrote:
if wiggins is any kind of a right man,he will support froome,thats if his ego will let him,i have my doubts

agreed... but they are both as bad as each other Smile

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1299 posts]
28th May 2013 - 9:47

1 Like

What huge act of hubris have you seen Wiggo commit that he is no longer deserving of your support?

I wouldn't say he's lost my support but the TdF certainly changed his attitude, at least in public. He was pretty understated until that point but having spent the early part of this year and particularly the run-up to the Giro saying he was going to go for the double (despite the team saying Froome would have the Tour leadership) was "interesting". On the giro, despite illness, he was clearly not in the same class as Nibali; seeing their reactions to their crashes on that wet descent was night and day different. Perhaps "Wiggo" is feeling too much pressure from the nation? Who knows.

He needs to be the understated quiet guy who says things how they are and gets things done with his team rather than a gobshite who wins races for column inches.

posted by atlaz [158 posts]
28th May 2013 - 17:19

1 Like

Of course Froome will be put in as Tour leader, if not he's got a poor deal. Wiggins is the kind of rider who needs to have a team around him right until the final centimetre of the stage like we saw at Tour last year, if not we will end up with the situation we did this year in Giro, as well as the smaller tours earlier in the year. But Froome only needs to be wrapped in the black and blue cotton wool until the foot of the last climb and then he can hold anyone's wheel or drop them completely like we've seen at Oman, Tirreno, Romandie, and Criteriùm Internationale. And if your a DS you want to have the faith in a rider that can put in a near perfect performance without having a team around 24/7, and not just one that will whoop everyone's Lycra clad glutes in a ITT like Sir Brad

posted by EvansYelhsa [12 posts]
28th May 2013 - 17:22

3 Likes

We all owe Wiggo for winning one for Blighty at last year's TDF but he showed major vulnerability in the Giro. One not very bad fall and he obviously completely lost his nerve, the illness was bad luck on top of that. The best way to rebuild his career now is to show humility and support Froomie. He's a more attacking rider who looks on form. Let's get behind him and give him a chance.

posted by LeDomestique [34 posts]
28th May 2013 - 20:45

4 Likes