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Sky's Tour superstar talks frankly about what went on between him and Wiggins in last year's mountain stages...

He hasn't held back about his absent team-mate. Sir Bradley Wiggins's withdrawal from the 2013 Tour de France has, Chris Froome has said, brought "clarity" to Team Sky and "made both our lives a lot simpler".

But an in-depth interview with The Times (£) ahead of the start of the Tour de France, Froome lifts the lid on the power struggle between him and Wiggins, which he hints was played out in public during the 2012 Tour de France because Wiggins kept his feelings to himself so much that Froome 'didn't know where he stood.'

When it came to Stage 11, from Albertville to La Toussuire, one of the key mountain stages, in which Froome unexpectedly accelerated past Wiggins with four kilometres to go and had to be recalled by the Sky sporting director Sean Yates, (who later said the stunt 'lacked tact') Froome said: "I put in an acceleration for 5 or 6km before the final climb, but as soon as I heard that Brad was in difficulty and he was struggling to stay with the guys I backed off completely.

“I knew that the correct thing to do would be to stay with Brad and look after him until the finish. He was only a few seconds back so I eased off, let him catch up to me again and escorted him to the finish line. So it just meant that I rode at his pace as opposed to the pace that I felt I could go if I was to try and get that advantage on the other guys.”

In discussion about Stage 17 in the Pyrenees, where Froome appeared to be continually demonstrating to Wiggins that he was the stronger man in the moutains by pulling off and watching back over his shoulder, he said: “I didn’t leave Brad at all. He started losing my wheel a bit, but every time he’d lose my wheel I’d ease up and let him get back on.”

Perhaps it was all down to communication though. 

“Brad keeps to himself at the best of times, and especially on a race like the Tour de France he doesn’t really speak much to anyone. So he’s a difficult guy like that. You don’t know where you really stand with him," said Froome.

It's clear though, that the rivalry between Froome and Wiggins has pushed the younger rider to achieve his best. As Alberto Contador told ESPN this weeek: "If my experiences with Lance Armstrong [his Astana team-mate and rival at the 2009 Tour, won by Contador] are anything to go by, it'll have given him extra motivation.

"Had Wiggins been there, he'd have been a sure-fire candidate for the Tour victory. But, to be honest, if Froome had pulled out, say, it would have affected things for me more, because the 2013 route suits him better."

 

To read the interview in full, click here.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

23 comments

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jova54 [648 posts] 2 years ago
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Chris Froome didn't win Le Tour 2012 and as long as Wiggins was riding he was always going to be number 1, so no matter how many times he digs it over that isn't going to change and he needs to get over it. Everyone 'knows' that Wiggins is a difficult character, why should he be any different with Froome than anyone else.

Froome needs to concentrate on 2013 and winning it. It won't prove he's better or worse than Wiggins, just that he's as good as Wiggins and that really should be enough.

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CyclingDan [39 posts] 2 years ago
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Froome proved he's stronger in the mountains last year when he could of kept on racing and dropped Wiggins. Hence I think he would have won and had all this media hype that Wiggo got after winning last year. The issue with pro cycling is that, all the team has to support (ride for) the GC contender (or No.1 I'll call it as last year there were 2 GC contenders in Team Sky), no matter how good the other riders are in the same team . That is the part of pro cycling I really loathe IMO. When last year Froome and Wiggo dropped the other teams GC contenders why couldn't Froome and Wiggo race on in the mountains and drop eachother? All because of these team orders! Why cant we have proper racing?

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stefv [211 posts] 2 years ago
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Does anyone have to hand the amount of time that brad put into Froome in the TTs? Froome might have won it if he had dropped Wiggo, but I don't think it was a dead cert.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 2 years ago
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CyclingDan wrote:

Froome proved he's stronger in the mountains last year when he could of kept on racing and dropped Wiggins. Hence I think he would have won and had all this media hype that Wiggo got after winning last year. The issue with pro cycling is that, all the team has to support (ride for) the GC contender (or No.1 I'll call it as last year there were 2 GC contenders in Team Sky), no matter how good the other riders are in the same team . That is the part of pro cycling I really loathe IMO. When last year Froome and Wiggo dropped the other teams GC contenders why couldn't Froome and Wiggo race on in the mountains and drop eachother? All because of these team orders! Why cant we have proper racing?

Because if Froome and Wiggins had raced against each other, neither of them would have won.

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tao24 [74 posts] 2 years ago
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Because Wiggins was stronger than Froome. Evidence - Time trial results. (Froome @ +1:50 across 2 ITTs)
In the mountains Wiggins didn't need to beat everyone to win the yellow, so why should he? The TdF is hard enough without trying to win every stage. Froome lost time early on and so needed good performances to come second, and stage victories would build his prestige.
Wiggins was simply looking after his yellow jersey by not following Froome's attacks. Look at the pictures of him coming across the line on stage 19. Does Wiggins look like he destroyed himself trying to keep up with Froome, who wanted to catch Valverde?

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gb901 [149 posts] 2 years ago
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Im convinced that had Froome dropped Wiggins in the mountains, that despite Wiggins' prowess at TT he still wouldnt have have made up enough time to beat Froome overall?

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Kebab Meister [12 posts] 2 years ago
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I am pretty sure that they both paced each other. If Froome had gone off all the time at his 'speed' would he have burned himself out? Wiggo had more experience and knew when to push and when not to. The good thing is that Froome probably learned a lot more than he's letting on. Part of cycling is relying on your team mates and he'll be relying on the rest of Team Sky for this years TdF as Wiggo did last year. Froome would never have won the TdF last year; the team was there to support the team leader - Wiggo.

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Colin Peyresourde [1673 posts] 2 years ago
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I think it is academic. Wiggins won the Tour, Froome was under team orders and so we will never know.

This is sort of a muck raking article as I think Froome suggests he was a stronger climber he doesn't dispute Brad as leader. But he doesn't have to worry about that now as he has his chance. Brad's shit stirring over the Tour was a dirty tactic to be honest and if I was Froome I would be happy to have dodged that bullet, which is probably why Brailsford put Wiggins on a timeout as soon as he had an excuse.

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700c [851 posts] 2 years ago
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This is a muck raking article, or Chris Froome is really is an egotistical prick

It's entirely unreasonable to assume that because Wiggo didn't keep up with a quick acceleration in the mountains, that he was the weaker rider.

2012 demonstrated Frome's inability to put the team ahead of his own ego and ambition.

For that reason alone, I will not be supporting his bid on le tour 2013.

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domobrien96 [44 posts] 2 years ago
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Are my eyes deceiving me or is that a picture of wiggins out of the saddle  13

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WolfieSmith [1313 posts] 2 years ago
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That surely is. The TDF visits Corsica. The Stones play Glastonbury and Brad out of the saddle scores a 10 in the I-Spy book of Pro Riders. There's also a 10 for any Eurosport commentator who doesn't use the word 'gurning' when Tommy Voeckler appears and 10 for the first time Phil Liggert mentions Charlemagne.

I always feel sorry at this time of year for all the trolls who were venting last year about how they can listen no more to Kirby/Harmon/Liggert etc etc.. I imagine their principals have left them watching Wimbledon instead.  3

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FMOAB [261 posts] 2 years ago
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CyclingDan wrote:

why couldn't Froome and Wiggo race on in the mountains and drop eachother? All because of these team orders! Why cant we have proper racing?

.

Because it's a team sport! It's exactly because of the complexity that you don't like that I love the sport. The psychology and dynamics of the team are part of that, with individuals often having to suppress their individual interests for the benefit of the team/team leader. Teams are almost like micro peletons, working against them for three weeks would ultimately be self defeating.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 2 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

I always feel sorry at this time of year for all the trolls who were venting last year about how they can listen no more to Kirby/Harmon/Liggert etc etc.. I imagine their principals have left them watching Wimbledon instead.  3

Well speaking personally, I hate Liggett (lying old fool). But not enough to cut off my nose to spite my face. And as I didn't go to High School in the USA, I've never had a Principal to leave me anywhere. (I'm getting worse, I know).

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CyclingDan [39 posts] 2 years ago
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I do know it's a team sport! All this complexity and dynamics actually makes it depressing to watch because its not actually racing. It being told what to do by the Team managers/directors on a poxy radio  37 . Mind you yesterday the radios may have helped, with the bus situataion!. Banning team orders and radios is what's needed to make this sport interesting. @700C Froome is more talented than Wiggo is - Who done all the pace making up the mountains last year when the other sky riders got dropped. Froome also managed to win a stage. OK Wiggo excelled in the TT's. Where's Wiggo now? Injured and possible not wanting to ride the tour again cos of family excuses. I really do wonder what will happen with Richie Porte (after extending his contract) next year as if Wiggins wants to target the Giro as Porte also does.

Enough Said! I don't think I'll be watching pro cycling anymore. Ride your bike, be safe, enjoy

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Sam1 [220 posts] 2 years ago
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A sighting of the Lesser-Spotted Out-of-the-Saddle Wiggins.

One for the collectors  1

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 2 years ago
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Elite sportsman is difficult guy - hold the front page. In all seriousness, as others have said, Wiggins won the TdF in 2012 so CF should shut up about it and get on with this year.

The course suits him, he seems to be in great form and he has a good team. As long as he stays out of crashes and doesn't have any serious mechanicals, he's got a very good chance to win. How many other riders have that opportunity?

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andyp [1444 posts] 2 years ago
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'Froome proved he's stronger in the mountains last year when he could of kept on racing and dropped Wiggins'

He did no such thing, of course. He proved that he could drop Wiggins for a few seconds if he attacked when Wiggins wasn't expecting that from a team-mate. Nothing more.

Yes, it's possible that he could have put time into him had he continued attacking his team-mate, but we won't know. He could have cracked, or Wiggins might have upped his game had the backstabbing continued.

The only thing we know for sure is that Wiggins put time into Froome in the TTs, and that Wiggins stood on the top step of the podium in Paris. Anything else is just conjecture.

I'll be shouting for Porte this year. In fact, ABF, to coin a footy-ism.

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dave atkinson [6201 posts] 2 years ago
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CyclingDan wrote:

Froome proved he's stronger in the mountains last year when he could of kept on racing and dropped Wiggins

that's pure conjecture. Sure he went up the road: could he have stayed out? we don't know. When he tried it again vs Cobo in the Vuelta, Cobo reeled him back in. Could he have gained enough time to make up for the shortcomings in the TT? maybe, maybe not. Sky's team orders that you so loathe gave them a 1-2 on the podium. whatever else you think about racing, the point of it is to win.

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doubledex [32 posts] 2 years ago
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The only thing that bothers me are Froomes sunglasses  39 I think I will be supporting Nairo Quintana or maybe Jose Serpa purely for the quality of the moustache he had in the Giro D'Italia!

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JeevesBath [163 posts] 2 years ago
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I recall in the Olympic road race not long afterwards, that Froome 'blew' while Wiggins continued to pull at the front for Cav.
Every cyclist has their good and bad days, to say that Froome was stronger than Wiggins in TdF 2012 based on the evidence of a couple of stages is extrapolating rather a lot.  22

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Kapelmuur [301 posts] 2 years ago
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The sport I've played most is football and you occasionally get showboaters who try to make team mates/opponents look silly, they generally wind up with a good kicking.

I don't know what the cycling equivalent of a good kicking is, but Froome deserves one.

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James Warrener [1081 posts] 2 years ago
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I am going to wait until he has won a grand tour to judge Froome.

Two Vuelta podiums and a Tour 2nd place in support of Wiggins means he isn't quite there yet.

There is a huge difference between being a top support rider and a Tour winner.

Think back to Jean Francois Bernard, Yaroslav Popovytch and others who thrived on being part of a winning team but didn't have it to finish the job themselves.

Froomes attack yesterday was exciting but there are three weeks to go.

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andyp [1444 posts] 2 years ago
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'I don't know what the cycling equivalent of a good kicking is, but Froome deserves one. '

a frame-fit pump through the front wheel on a long descent, presumably.