Brailsford threatened to fine Wiggins if he didn't support Froome in Tour de France

More details emerge regarding non-payment of TDF bonus - Froome's fiancée says it was the principle, not the money

by Simon_MacMichael   November 28, 2013  

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

Further details have emerged of the non-payment of prize money for winning the 2012 Tour de France to his Team Sky colleague – and many would say rival – as well as runner-up in that race, Chris Froome. It also transpires that team principal Sir Dave Brailsford considered threatening to dock Wiggins several months’ wages if he ignored team orders to support Froome in last July’s Tour; Wiggins missed that race, with Froome succeeding him as champion.

The story of the non-payment of money to Froome was broken in David Walsh’s book, Inside Team Sky, published last week. According to The Times, the money in question isn’t the €450,000 for first place on GC paid to Team Sky for Wiggins’ victory – that goes into a central pot, and Froome got his share of that – but a £1 million bonus from the team itself.

The newspaper says that Froome learnt from his team mate – not to mention close friend, training partner and fellow Monaco resident, Richie Porte – that he had received money from Wiggins.

But Froome had not, nor unlike the other members of the team had he received the traditional gift of a yellow jersey from the Tour winner or an invitation to Wiggins’ Yellow Ball charity fundraiser in October last year.

During the 2012 Tour, rumours that all was not well between the two Sky riders who had got onto the podium during the previous year’s Vuelta were fuelled by two incidents in particular.

The first came when Froome seemed to attack race leader on Stage 11 to La Toussuire-Les-Sybelles, slowing down only on the orders of sports director, Sean Yates.
That incident gave rise to a tetchy exchange on Twitter between Wiggins’ wife Cath, and Froome’s now fiancée, Michelle Cound.

That was followed by another apparently angry exchange between the two men on the final mountain stage, when Froome could be seen gesticulating at Wiggins.

Referring to the bonus, Cound, who also looks after Froome’s business interests, said: “People don’t necessarily tell each other what bonus they have got. So we didn’t know for sure what the situation was.

“We didn’t know what the other riders got,” Cound said. “But Brad paid Chris nothing.”

On the subject of Walsh’s book, she said: “I don’t believe Brad ever intended to pay Chris the bonus. I think the reason he did is because he knew it was coming out in the book.

Cound added that it was more about the principle than the money, saying: “Brad paying Chris really doesn’t mean that much. It’s about a lot more than the sum of money.”

Wiggins made noises earlier this year about wanting to defend his Tour de France title, even though Brailsford had made it clear that Froome would be Sky’s protected rider, with the course more suited to him.

An injury picked up after Wiggins Giro d’Italia campaign, where he left the race halfway through, saw Sky announce he wouldn’t be selected for the Tour nearly a month before it began on Corsica.

In Walsh’s book, Brailsford outlined his belief that Froome and Wiggins can put professionalism above personal differences, but also revealed that he was prepared to take drastic measures to ensure the pair’s simmering row would not affect the team.

He planned to bring both men together and ask Wiggins – twice – to confirm he would ride for Froome, on the assumption the answer would be in the affirmative.

“Then I would say, ‘OK, if you don’t follow team orders we will agree to fine you three or four months’ wages’,” explained Brailsford.

He added: “This will be a significant amount of money, maybe as much as a few hundred thousand, and I believed it would concentrate Brad’s mind. I was then going to turn to Chris and say: ‘Right, Chris, if Brad goes against team orders, I’m going to give you that money.’ ”

Brailsford added that the proposal was based more on ensuring “goal harmony” – Froome’s victory – rather than “team harmony.”

However, he has insisted that the question of the non-payment of the bonus wasn’t an issue for the team, saying:

“That was a matter for Bradley and Chris and it is now sorted.”

But he did play a role in its resolution.

September’s World Championships in Tuscany saw both men selected for the British squad, with Froome spearheading what would prove to be a lackluster challenge in the rain, and ahead of that race as Cound explained, “Brailsford decided it would be better to sort it all out.”

A week before the race, Wiggins transferred the money to Froome, but Cound said that clear-the-air talks between the pair did not take place: “Chris was supposed to sit down with Brad before the worlds and it just never happened.”

Sky’s preparation for a 2014 season that will see the Tour de France begin on home soil in Yorkshire commence shortly with a training camp on Mallorca, and early season races will give Brailsford and his management team a chance to gauge the respective riders’ form.

The Yorkshire Grand Départ, and the fact the last two winners of the race are both British and ride for a British team means that media attention will be intense in the months leading up to the race, and the relationship between them will be come under particular scrutiny.

The Wiggins and Froome soap opera is unlikely to have run its course just yet.

39 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

So Froome who came 2nd received more money than Brad for winning... No wonder he didnt pay him, the cheek and disrespect of Froome and his greedy bint.

Leodis's picture

posted by Leodis [232 posts]
28th November 2013 - 15:36

26 Likes

Edgeley wrote:
I don't think either of these two is likely to be able to forge a post-racing career.

I reckon Froome could get some work as a Skeletor lookalike.

posted by farrell [1526 posts]
28th November 2013 - 15:51

17 Likes

farrell wrote:
So last week it was claimed the GC winnings from the Tour weren't divvied out, but it now appears that those monies were paid direct to the team.

However, we now have a new claim from Michelle Cound via David Walsh that Brad didn't pay Froome a bonus out of his own personal bonus from his team.

I wonder just what Michelle Cound, business adviser and fianceé of Chris Froome and David Walsh, future ghostwriter of Chris Froome's biography, would have to gain from painting Wiggins in a bad light?

Interesting point - yet again Cound tries to get her pound of flesh, she should keep out of it.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2810 posts]
28th November 2013 - 16:07

21 Likes

Leodis wrote:
So Froome who came 2nd received more money than Brad for winning... No wonder he didnt pay him, the cheek and disrespect of Froome and his greedy bint.

Where, oh where, do you get this from? All that we are told is that Brad didn't pay Froome his part of the bonus, but they haven't indicated how much each rider received. I doubt that Brad ended up worse than Froome once all the bonuses were paid out. It's just a matter of Brad paying Froome his dues, and it doesn't look like he did that.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1175 posts]
28th November 2013 - 16:22

24 Likes

There is only one person who is coming out of this looking good and i am thinking of getting some t-shirts printed with 'Goal Harmony' in his honour.

posted by Some Fella [794 posts]
28th November 2013 - 16:34

15 Likes

I personally feel a bit sorry for Wiggins.

Imagine, you have just won the worlds biggest race, becoming the first brit to ever do so, on a british team... then, less than a year later, your team effectively dump you in favour of the young upstart that was the only one not to get fully behind your victory bid.

That must sting.

I can also imagine the pain of having Brailsford tell you that your wages are on the block if you don't support the guy who flicked you in exactly the same race the previous year.

I am amused at how easily people accept that Wiggins is a sh1t, and that Froome is a hero in this.

As mentioned, there are two sides to every story and we are getting to hear just one. I don't know which of these two is the arrrrse, so Im not willing to judge either just yet.

As touched on previously however, I can't help feel that the phrase 'nice people don't win' is probably apt, and there is one clear winner here.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [310 posts]
28th November 2013 - 17:08

23 Likes

Didn't get behind? He dragged Brad over every col...

He earned his bonus, and was told he'd be given his shot the year after. Then BW didn't pay him, and came out with the fact that he wanted another shot and wouldn't support Froome.

BW secured his legacy, thanks in no small part to Froome.

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

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [491 posts]
28th November 2013 - 17:47

19 Likes

There's a personality clash between the two - its as simple as that. They do have very different upbringings and are totally different characters.
I believe that Froome thought he has the go ahead to attack on the stage when he got pulled back, and at the end of the day he did an insane amount of work for Brad to win the tour. He always said at the time it was a team sport and he would obey team orders.
I think Froome probably felt denied at least a couple of stage victories in 2012, and that he was owed a little more rope from the team than he got. After all we'd never seen a Tdf like that before where one team just dropped the whole peleton mountain after mountain.
As for Wiggins I think he was pissed that Froome had apparently pissed on his parade and maybe a little peeved that Froome had made it extremely obvious that he(wiggins) was inferior to a domestique in the mountains.

Gotta see it from both sides, personally I think Brailsford as great
as he is, doesn't posses the greatest people skills if he thinks he'll get these two working well together.

posted by pmr [172 posts]
28th November 2013 - 17:58

18 Likes

Jimmy Ray Will wrote:
the young upstart that was the only one not to get fully behind your victory bid.

Give over.

posted by dp24 [193 posts]
28th November 2013 - 19:57

12 Likes

Storm in a teacup IMHO.

A bit of a personality clash that has been fed to the news outlets in order to boost sales of Walsh's book on Sky and Froome's biography (Part I of ?).

Zzzzzzz...

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2007 posts]
28th November 2013 - 20:21

14 Likes

wish that bloody cound woman would just shut the f*** up - no one is interested in her bad mouthing

in the long run everyone will remember BW as the first brit to win the TdF, froome is barely on the radar of normal everyday people and if she keeps this up he never will be

posted by keirik [30 posts]
28th November 2013 - 21:13

15 Likes

Simon E wrote:
Storm in a teacup IMHO.

A bit of a personality clash that has been fed to the news outlets in order to boost sales of Walsh's book on Sky and Froome's biography (Part I of ?).

Zzzzzzz...

and just before christmas Thinking

posted by pondlife [16 posts]
28th November 2013 - 21:14

14 Likes

arrieredupeleton wrote:
Oh well. Actions speak louder than words. At least Brad buried himself for Froome at the Worlds..... Confused

Laughing Laughing Laughing

Well said

Sean

posted by seanieh66 [194 posts]
29th November 2013 - 3:29

10 Likes

+2 Sir Dave
-1 Sir wiggo
+1 vava froome

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
29th November 2013 - 7:12

7 Likes

From this article (and has several people have noted, we've only heard one side of the story) it sounds like Wiggo did share his TdF prize money as tradition dictates, and the money in question was paid direct to him as a bonus by Sky. Now either that was his to do with as he pleased (and OK, sharing it with everyone except Froome does make him appear a bit of an arse, but that was his decision to make and it would be interesting to hear his reasons for that) or it was given to him in the expectation that he would share it with the rest of the team. If the latter then, OK, that's what he should have done, but Dave B and the Team Sky management could have avoided the whole issue by just paying a bonus to everyone on the team rather than giving it all to one person and expecting them to share it out. It's not been made public whether Froome's prize for finishing second was also shared among the team. If it wasn't then maybe Wiggins felt it would be better to give more to the other riders who didn't have that additional prize money.

posted by graham_f [107 posts]
29th November 2013 - 9:28

8 Likes

sorry, some of the comments on here are just barmy!!!

how was froome a young up-start, his GT record over a shorter durations was probably as good a wiggins - 2nd places, and it it was better than Brad's before being given the leadership for the 2010 (shit result), 2011 (fell off) 2012 won a good race against with a very srtong team!

why would ypou be pissed off as well being in brad's position, it was obviously some agreement to pay the team out of his personal bonus, otherwise can you imagine that he'd just gove the money away? he would just say 'no'. so he obviously has some obligation to pay out.

also froomes prize money got dropped into the pot to share around (presumably) as per sky's well documented rules.

to call froomes wife a bint and she should stay out of it is comepletely out of order, she is his manager and as such handles his business afare - and what justifys the name calling?

Undeniably team orders held froome back from a potential win in 2012, him pushed the boundry (whether or not through inexperience) was morally wrong - but as Cav's new book says when he sides with froome, they were led to believe they would chase dreams at team sky.

also for a tream to hold a rider back becomes effectively cheating - similar to paying for a win, so either way its all a load of moral bullc*ap - it was an amazing year for wiggins, cultivateld by his hard work, national favoritism, Team SKY and BC - I'm sure the commercial oppurtunities for him will set him up financially to a point that would take froome 3-4 GT wins to achieve and even then he won't be the darling of British cycling like wiggins - regardless who remembers the second british guy to win the tour de france?

posted by doc_davo [18 posts]
29th November 2013 - 11:20

7 Likes

"also for a tream to hold a rider back becomes effectively cheating"

What drivel. It's a team sport with designated leaders.

Independent of whether Froome could or could not have beaten Wiggins, he was not being paid to win the race in 2012.

His job - the one for which he was being paid - was to assist Wiggins in winning.

Should Wiggins have tanked, I'm sure Sky would have revised their strategy and promoted a new team leader. However, Wiggins wasn't tanking and hence there was no reason to change their plans.

Perhaps Wiggins didn't pay Froome his bonus because he didn't think Froome had done his job properly?

posted by Huw Watkins [62 posts]
29th November 2013 - 12:03

7 Likes

Leodis wrote:
So Froome who came 2nd received more money than Brad for winning... No wonder he didnt pay him, the cheek and disrespect of Froome and his greedy bint.

No need to use the term 'bint' which is pretty derogatory.

posted by wwfcb [70 posts]
29th November 2013 - 12:15

9 Likes

With no drugs scandals on the horizon, we need to have some controversy from somewhere else to keep us all amused over the winter! Applause

posted by kohakumark [23 posts]
29th November 2013 - 12:15

12 Likes

Froome's missus is one gobshite.

I wouldn't have given Froome a penny.

posted by gazzaputt [183 posts]
29th November 2013 - 13:43

9 Likes

Don't feel I have eaten enough angst and aggression for lunch this afternoon to comment in the common style of the thread. Why do people seem intent on picking the angelic/dickhead theme as something new to sport? It really isnt. We are lucky to have two British athletes to showcase the sport to the uninitiated and generate interest amongst some young kids who will hopefully drive the sport on in the UK at a time where people are starting to believe it is clean and honest. Here's to an amazing Grand Depart in Yorkshire next year!

Ian Mc

Northumberland

posted by iawmcauslan [4 posts]
29th November 2013 - 14:46

11 Likes

Brailsford should warn Froome that he will fine him if his 'Manager' rocks the boat and unsettles the team.

I reckon the two riders could work professionally even if they have no time for each other, but that's going to be all the more difficult with 'Lady MacBeth' in the background stirring it up.

posted by Puncheur-David [14 posts]
29th November 2013 - 15:42

10 Likes

iawmcauslan wrote:
Don't feel I have eaten enough angst and aggression for lunch this afternoon to comment in the common style of the thread. Why do people seem intent on picking the angelic/dickhead theme as something new to sport? It really isnt. We are lucky to have two British athletes to showcase the sport to the uninitiated and generate interest amongst some young kids who will hopefully drive the sport on in the UK at a time where people are starting to believe it is clean and honest. Here's to an amazing Grand Depart in Yorkshire next year!

There is something beautifully innocent about believing your sports hero is a totally nice guy. It's like you've eaten up the one-dimensional stereotype of what a hero is meant to be.

We all know that people are much more rounded and complex characters, especially cyclists. It is why people struggle to believe that drugs are endemic in top flight sport, despite evidence to the contrary (e.g. Jamaica have athletes that have beaten the world record set by a known doper, and his national doping agency have not done any out of competition tests, but credulity seems to be that nice guy Bolt did it fairly).

Those that seem to have a beef with Froome are a little wide of the mark. Sure he could hidden his talent, sat and paced Wiggins, but he did that for him in the Vuelta and he ended up second as a result. You can understand his frustration - but ultimately he didn't threaten Wiggins' yellow directly. He never disappeared over the horizon without a second thought.

Wiggins behaviour seems churlish, but perhaps not out of keeping with his spiky character. They're wrestling for control of the team, they're bound to butt heads. You can like one more than the other, but it seems a personal issue, but a real window into Team Sky rather than the sleek veneer painted by Robert Millar's sister etc.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1175 posts]
29th November 2013 - 16:25

13 Likes

keirik wrote:
wish that bloody cound woman would just shut the f*** up - no one is interested in her bad mouthing

in the long run everyone will remember BW as the first brit to win the TdF, froome is barely on the radar of normal everyday people and if she keeps this up he never will be

keirik you do not understand real politik do you? This is a case of good cop, bad cop tag teaming. Do you really think that Michelle Cound is a total loose cannon and off message with every utterance? Of course she isn't, this is mostly very smart and well thought through. She lands a blow every time.

Did you never wonder why the controversial but biting stuff comes from Cound and very little comes from Froome?

posted by RTB [49 posts]
30th November 2013 - 0:14

10 Likes

Cool

posted by RTB [49 posts]
30th November 2013 - 0:14

7 Likes

gazzaputt wrote:
Froome's missus is one gobshite.

I wouldn't have given Froome a penny.

Oh dear... just as well every army needs foot soldiers eh...

posted by RTB [49 posts]
30th November 2013 - 0:15

7 Likes

Can't understand why wiggins still has fans/supporters

posted by kylemalco [32 posts]
30th November 2013 - 20:16

5 Likes

Isn't it David Millar's sister? Thinking

Zedand3

posted by zedand3 [19 posts]
1st December 2013 - 16:39

3 Likes

If the news paper article is true,it would appear that Wiggins is a most unpleasent "drunk"
As regards to most "proffesional entertainors" sports people that is, I could not give a flying f..k what they are reputed to do or say.
Most of them seem like a bunch of "silly queens" and apart from their sporting acheivments should be ignored.

Doug.F.

posted by Doug.F. [13 posts]
1st December 2013 - 16:42

6 Likes

Leodis wrote:
So Froome who came 2nd received more money than Brad for winning... No wonder he didnt pay him, the cheek and disrespect of Froome and his greedy bint.

Are you new to road cycling as a sport? People like Froome and Porte and other lieutenants in other teams are very often people that could or might get a podium themselves or at least a few stage wins. In Sky's case they are because they can afford them. Instead they sit there and protect the team principle. Froome happened to come 2nd but he may well have been way down the GC.

The convention has been that the yellow Jersey purse is distrubuted amongst the team because it was a team effort the Yellow Jersey in Paris is going to be on a big bonus from the sponsor and will undoubtedly make shed loads more than that in many many other ways. They may well be on a bonus from the sponsor, bike deal, book deal, etc etc plus he can command massive start money in the crit season in Belgium and France. Then there is the after dinner speaker stuff plus the telly etc. Brad is managed by Krugercowne http://www.krugercowne.com/bradley-wiggins-kbe

It has been a tradition that the Yellow Jersey distributes his prize money to his team and keeps the glory and the much bigger pay offs that he will get from being the actual winner.

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

posted by oozaveared [669 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 14:13

4 Likes