Chris Froome insists that tensions between himself and Sir Bradley Wiggins are in the past – just a week after extracts of his autobiography published in The Sunday Times revealed the extent of his frustration at having to play a supporting role to his Sky team mate during the 2012 Tour de France.
Froome, in Yorkshire this weekend to undertake a reconnaissance of the opening two stages of next month’s Tour de France where he will defend the title he won last year when he succeeded Wiggins as overall champion, also told BBC Sport that he had not seen the other rider since January.
Asked if British fans could expect to see 2012 Tour de France winner Wiggins take to the start of the this year’s race in Leeds on 5 July, Froome was non-commital.
He said: “I think you’re talking about Plan Bs. Obviously that’s a decision the team needs to come to but I think the way Bradley is talking, he’s been talking about playing a support role, certainly not a Plan B as such.”
Instead, it’s another Sky team mate that Froome appears to believe can fulfil that role, and one to whom he is much closer than Wiggins: “I think Richie Porte has really stepped up,” he said. “His condition is pretty good at the moment and he can certainly he’s got the potential to be riding for the Tour de France podium.
“But as far as Bradley is concerned I think that’s a hot topic at the moment, who’s going to be in that final nine selected to start in Yorkshire. Again that’s going to come down to what is best for the team, who is going to do the best role, the dynamics of the team and everything around that."
While it is no secret that the pair are not close, the lack of contact between the pair suggests that Wiggins may be peripheral to the team’s plans for the Tour de France.
Froome was asked if he had spoken to Wiggins since the Tour of California, where the latter won the overall title.
He replied: “Not since California. The last time I saw Bradley was at the training camp in Mallorca in January.”
Turning to the issue of the serialisation of his autobiography, he was asked if he had warned Wiggins about the content of it, which included him accusing his team mate of being “arrogant” about the supporting role Froome was expected to play.
It was put to him that the timing of the publication of the extracts, and the revival of a dispute that many believed to have been resolved, was not too helpful.
Froome said: “I think people need to bear in mind that with me coming out with my autobiography it’s by no means an attempt to dig up the past, especially at this moment just before the Tour de France.
“I think I would have been criticised a lot for not having covered that topic in my autobiography, it was a big part of what happened in 2012 in the Tour de France and up until now people have only seen I think Bradley’s version of events that he’s put out there.
“So for me this was an opportunity to be able to put out what I felt happened.
“But I think we all need to remember that this is all stuff that happened back in 2012, and even though it’s being brought up now, it’s only because it’s in my autobiography.
“These are issues we’ve already put to bed, we’ve talked about, we’ve dealt with, and it’s in the past now,” he added.
Next week Froome, who spent the latter half of may altitude training at Mount Teide in Tenerife and last week expressed his concern at the lack of out-of-competition drug testing there, steps up his preparations for the Tour as he seeks to win the Critérium du Dauphiné for the second year running.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.