Wiggins and Froome to be a winning pair to contest Le Tour for SKY


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Road.cc
When the Tour de France rolls out of Leeds on July 5, Sir Bradley Wiggins says he will fill whatever role Team Sky asks in order to be on that start line.

After making history as the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012, Sir Bradley missed the 2013 edition because of injury. Team-mate Chris Froome took the win, and Wiggins is determined to line up next to the defending champion this year.

Sir Bradley and Team Sky are currently on a training camp in Majorca. He will start his season at the four-day Challenge Majorca race series on February 9.

Wiggins told Sky Sports News: “I’d love to be back at the Tour de France. That’s the long-term goal – to be part of that successful team.

“I missed it last year and had to watch it on the TV. When you see it from the outside then you see just how great the Tour de France is.”

“Obviously there’s a huge opportunity with it starting in the UK this year. Coming back as a former winner and it being there is fantastic.”

If Sky fields both Sir Bradley and Chris Froome, it will be the first time a team has rolled out two Tour de France winners from the same country since Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain rode for Banesto in 1993.

Sir Bradley said: “To be back at the Tour de France, back in the team in whatever capacity alongside the defending champion Chris Froome, two British winners in the Tour starting in the UK – it’s going to be quite an experience.”

“At this stage, all my winter training has been about hitting the ground running in the early races. I want to get off to a flying start as I did in 2012.

“I want to perform well in the early season. I’ve got some good goals early season, building up to the Tour of California in May. I want to start performing well out there in America.”

Froome Wiggins spat is over …..


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AFP

Tour de France champion Chris Froome, left, says he and team-mate at Sky Bradley Wiggins have patched up their differences and are on good terms.

Chris Froome was stopped by the police the other day. It was a random check in Monaco and the officer simply wanted to see his driving licence.

But the moment Froome climbed off his motor scooter and lifted the visor of his crash helmet, the tone of their encounter changed. ‘He suddenly pulled out his phone and asked for a picture of us together,’ says Froome with a smile.

It is one example of how life has changed for the 28-year-old winner of this year’s Tour de France. Another would be the fact that he is among the contenders for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award this weekend.

But Froome has reached a point in his life where he wants to see more change. He wants to play a key role in leading his sport away from its drug-ridden past and into a brighter, cleaner future. And he wants to stop talking about the very public spat he has had with Sir Bradley Wiggins, his team-mate at Sky, since the 2012 Tour.

He rather hopes this interview will mark the last time he has to deal with such questions, even if he intends to revisit certain events in more detail in his autobiography.

‘The fact is Brad and I have just been on a training camp together in Mallorca and we’ve had a talk about things,’ says Froome. ‘It was very constructive and we are in a good place now. It was important we did that and it was important for the team, too.

‘To be honest we should have done it a very long time ago, just to clear the air, but we are on good terms now.’

This is quite a revelation and in his mind, at least, it brings closure to a bitter rivalry that has even seen their partners get involved.

It dates back to Stage 11 of the 2012 Tour, on the climb to the summit of La Toussuire. Froome’s job was to act as super-domestique to Wiggins; to protect his team leader’s position in the yellow jersey, often by guiding him up the Tour’s most brutal climbs.

But four kilometres from the top Froome attacked, springing out of his saddle and not only racing away from his rivals for a place on the podium — he would finish second in Paris — but from Wiggins.

It was astonishing, not least because Sean Yates, then Sky’s sports director, ordered Froome over the team radio to return to Wiggins’s side. Wiggins had cracked, after all, and was now losing precious time on the main threat to Sky’s dominance, the Italian Vincenzo Nibali.

In his recently published autobiography, Yates claimed Froome had reneged on an agreement that had been reached with the two riders the previous evening that he could attempt to win the stage, but only once Wiggins was safely delivered to nearer the top of the climb; with 500m to go.

According to Yates, Wiggins was so shaken by the episode that team principal Sir Dave Brailsford had to persuade him not to quit the race. Comments would then appear on Twitter from Wiggins’s wife, Cath, and Froome’s girlfriend, Michelle.

There would be further acrimony when Wiggins suggested a few months later that he would attempt to defend his title, knowing full well that Brailsford had already selected Froome as team leader for the 2013 race.

In another recently published book, it emerged that Wiggins was rather slow in paying Froome the bonus the winner of the Tour traditionally gives his team-mates.

Now, however, things appear to have improved. After receiving his knighthood at Buckingham Palace yesterday, Wiggins said he would be happy to play a ‘support role’ for Froome in next year’s Tour, while Froome, it has to be said, is every bit as respectful towards Wiggins as we reflect on the situation in the bar of a smart central London hotel. ‘The incident in 2012 was at the root of it all,’ says Froome. ‘I’m not sure it was that big a problem but it was all played out so much in the media, it was allowed to escalate.

‘Michelle got caught in the crossfire, too. At the end of the day she has her opinions and they’re not necessarily my opinions. But she’s very passionate about supporting me when she sees negative things. She’s just being loyal to me.’

Perhaps he should explain 2012 from his perspective. ‘It was a huge misunderstanding where I thought I was reading the race right,’ he says. ‘I thought the race had evolved in such a way that opened the door for me to go. Obviously it was the wrong moment.

‘And I thought if something happens to Brad, like it had the previous year when he crashed, I want to be in the strongest possible position if I’m then asked to take over. It didn’t even cross my mind to attack Brad.

‘People need to remember the Vuelta (the Tour of Spain) the year before, when Brad dropped off on the climbs and the team suddenly said, “Well, you go for GT (general classification)”. But I was too far behind by then and I lost the race, finishing second, by something like 11 seconds.

‘I accept that I read the situation wrong (in 2012). I thought Brad was fine. But it very quickly became apparent that it was a problem and that I needed to stop and come back, which is what I did.’

Froome won’t talk about the bonus story, confirming only that he has now received the money due to him from Wiggins. He is also reluctant to go into their conversation in Mallorca. ‘We’re very different people,’ he says. ‘Brad would say the same. But, like I say, we’re in a good place now.’

As fascinating a soap opera as it is, you can sympathise with his sense of frustration. This, after all, is a golden era for British road cycling and the qualities of two British Tour winners really need to be celebrated.

Off the bike, Froome is charming. He strides into the hotel lobby with a grin almost as wide as his slender frame and when he does complain in his soft South African accent that too many interviews are dominated by questions about his relationship with Wiggins, he could not be more polite about it.

I ask him if, like Wiggins, he rides a Vespa. ‘It’s a Yamaha,’ he says, laughing. ‘I’m just not that trendy.’ He also says the car he occasionally drives through Casino Square was chosen simply because it was ‘easy for throwing the bike in the back’. Not a Ferrari, then.

He shares a one-bedroom apartment with Michelle. ‘For training Monaco really is fantastic,’ he says. ‘The weather’s great and every day I slip out the back of Monaco and into the hills and mountains. I pretty much won’t see a car.’

As a rider, he really is a joy to watch. Wiggins’s Tour success was built on his time trial prowess and his ability to live with the world’s best climbers. Froome is no mean time trial rider either but he attacks his rivals on the climbs at a time when the race is being dominated by such specialists.

‘I like to think I’m quite an instinctive racer,’ he says. ‘We always go into a stage with a plan but a race is such a delicate thing. It’s always evolving. It can just be about the moment. It’s as much a psychological battle as a physical one, about who gives in first.

‘I’ve always recognised that the pain you suffer in that moment is temporary, and I always tell myself how much I will enjoy it afterwards if I can endure that pain.’

He will continue to endure it because he wants to win more Tour titles and prove that such a feat can be achieved without the assistance of performance-enhancing drugs.

‘Part of what’s driving me is a desire to show, post-Armstrong, that it’s possible to have successive Tour victories clean,’ he says.

Ideally with the assistance of Wiggins. – Daily Mail

See more:http://www.iol.co.za/sport/cycling/froome-wiggins-spat-is-over-1.1620511#.Uqhou_RdXW8

 

did wiggo hold back on froome?


from road.cc

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A new book claims that Sir Bradley Wiggins snubbed Team Sky colleague Chris Froome after winning last year’s Tour de France – by splitting his prize money with all his other team-mates, excluding the man who would this year succeed him to the yellow jersey.

In his book, Inside Team Sky, Sunday Times chief sports writer David Walsh says that Wiggins eventually paid Froome the money during the week of this year’s World Championships in Florence – 14 months after the race finished, and on the insistence of team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford.

Besides the €450,000 for winning the General Classification, Wiggins would also have earned money for stage placings, including €8,000 for each of the two time trials he won – and for days spent in the yellow jersey.

Froome finished runner-up to Wiggins in the race – which would have netted him €200,000 – but Tour de France tradition dictates that overall winner shares his prize money with all the riders who help him win.

Tensions ran high between Wiggins and Froome in the second half of the race after the latter appeared to attack his team leader on Stage 11 to La Toussuire-Les-Sybelles, slowing down to wait for him only on the orders of sports director, Sean Yates.

The incident sparked a row on Twitter between Wiggins’ wife Cath, and Froome’s now fiancée, Michelle Cound.

There was another exchange towards the end of the final mountain stage of the race that suggested all was not well in the Sky camp, with Froome gesticulating at the Tour’s winner-in-waiting.

Walsh’s book is already on sale through Amazon, including for Kindle devices and apps, and should hit bookstores this weekend.

He confirmed on Twitter  that the episode regarding Wiggins, Froome and the payment of the bonus is included within the book.

Froome and wiggo divide the spoils of 2013


If they win – never mind 2012 look what 2013 looks to focus on

Dave Brailsford has publicly confirmed that Chris Froome will spearhead Team Sky’s challenge in the Tour de France next summer, while this year’s winner Bradley Wiggins will focus on adding the overall win in the Giro d’Italia to his growing palmarès.

The Team Sky principal was speaking last night at Action Medical Research’s Champions of Cycle Sport dinner at London’s Hurlingham Club and also confirmed that the British ProTeam would be looking to get new signing Jonathan Tiernan-Locke into some big races.

Next year’s Tour has a total of 65 kilometres of individual time trials compared to more than 100 kilometres in this year’s edition, one of those two stages against the clock coming during a tough final week in the Alps that arguably suits Froome’ climbing abilities more than it does those of Wiggins.

At the presentation of the 2013 Tour in Paris last month, Brailsford hinted that Froome was likely to be its main hope in the race, and that has now been confirmed by his comments yesterday evening in a question and answer session with Sky TV presenter Dermot Murnaghan.

A supposed intra-team rivalry between Froome and Wiggins, who had finished second and third respectively in last season’s Vuelta, was one of the more compelling sub-plots of this summer’s Tour de France.

The Tour finished in Paris with not only the first British winner of the 109-year-old race in Wiggins, but also a British one-two as Froome secured the runners-up spot.

A couple of incidents during the race – Froome apparently attacking Wiggins on Stage 11 and a discussion between the pair towards the end of Stage 17 once they were left alone in pursuit of stage winner Alejandro Valverde – gave rise to a wave of speculation that all was not well between Team Sky’s two stars.

Froome has insisted that he was simply looking to make up time on GC rivals, having lost more than a minute to a puncture in the first road stage of the race, and Sky’s official line has always been that Wiggins was the designated rider this year and that if a future Tour had a course better suited to Froome’s talents, he would get its full support.

Next year’s Giro, meanwhile – a race in which Wiggins has previously worn the maglia rosa, winning the Prologue in Amsterdam with Sky in 2010 – has a long, 55.5 kilometre individual time trial midway through which should suit Olympic champion Wiggins to a T, as well as a mountain time trial of nearly 20 kilometres in the final week.

According to rumours when the route was launched last month, the course is believed to have been designed in part to help entice Wiggins to focus on winning the Giro rather than concentrating on a defence of his Tour title.

Were he to go on and win the Giro, Wiggins would join some exalted names in winning both the French and Italian Grand Tours, five of whom – Jacques Anquetil, Alberto Contador, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx – have also won the Vuelta. Just getting onto the podium would see Wiggins becoming only the 14th cyclist to have done so in all three Grand Tours.

Finishing the race in the maglia rosa when it ends in Brescia would therefore pretty much seal Wiggins’ place as a legend of the sport, something British Cycling and Team Sky coach Shane Sutton said earlier this week that the 32-year-old had set as a goal.

Others may have won more on the road, but Wiggins also has six rainbow jerseys and three Olympic golds on the track, plus that time trial gold in London. Admittedly, until 1996, pros couldn’t take part in the Olympics, but it’s a pretty impressive haul nonetheless.

As for Tiernan-Locke, the 27-year-old Tour of Britain champion, signed from Endura Racing on a two-year contract, told Torbay area newspaper the Herald Express this week that while his racing calendar for next year hadn’t been decided yet, “There’s a possibility I may ride the Vuelta.”

He added: “I want to get a Grand Tour in my legs, to see how I would respond to it. It changes you as a rider, and you learn a lot about yourself.”

Brailsford said last night that he would be looking to get his new rider into some big races – a solid performance in this year’s world championships has prompted thoughts that he might target the Ardennes Classics.

The word last night though is that Sky want Tiernan-Locke to shed around 9 kilos to get into ideal shape for next season – and we also learnt that his original nickname wasn’t JTL, down in Devon he was given the monicker J-Lo which he joked with Murnaghan was due to his big butt. That would be the first thing to go if he adopts the Twiggo diet, we reckon.

Tacks are one thing – a stab in the back from a teammate would be the Caesar moment


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From the guardian

Chris Froome made it very clear on Sunday that, despite the brief but much discussed incident on the climb to La Toussuire last Thursday, when he seemed about to prove himself a stronger climber than Bradley Wiggins until he heeded his sporting director’s instruction to slow down, he will be riding to orders to help ensure that his team leader becomes the first British rider to win the Tour de France.

“Everyone’s been asking me about that,” the 27-year-old Kenyan-bornTeam Sky rider told L’Equipe. “I understand it and I know that I’d be capable of winning this Tour, but not with Sky. We’ve got a definite strategy and everybody respects it.”

Although that sounds like the last word on the matter, it is entirely dependent on this week’s events. Elsewhere in the interview Froome indicated the extent of his ambition and his desire to be treated as a potential Tour winner sooner rather than later.

His other-worldly air may be misleading. He spoke of a self-sufficiency honed as a boy when his family moved from Kenya to South Africa and he was thrust into unfamiliar surroundings. “I like to fight alone,” he said, referring to his fondness for the solitary effort of time trialling and for the pleasure of riding in the mountains – the two disciplines in which he excels.

Even more significant may have been his description of the decision to live in Italy when he was racing for the Barloworld team, to make it easier for his girlfriend to travel to her job in Milan. After they broke up, he told himself: “Now the only thing I’m going to think about is my career as a rider.”

Team Sky’s strategy this month, which has roots going back four years, is to maximise Wiggins’s talents and minimise his weaknesses in order to put him on the top step of the podium in Paris next Sunday. It did not work in 2010, Sky’s debut season, when his form and the team’s naivety combined to destroy the hopes that had been raised by his fourth-place finish for the Garmin team the previous year, and 12 months later an early crash removed him from contention.

This year the 32-year-old triple Olympic champion has a handpicked squad, only slightly compromised by the need to give Mark Cavendish, the team’s big winter signing, the chance to mount a token defence of the green jersey while wearing the world champion’s rainbow stripes and to attempt a fifth consecutive win on the Champs-Elysées next Sunday. But the wild card, as it turns out, is Froome, who signed for the team in 2010 but is only now making his first appearance in the Tour for the team, having made his debut with Barloworld in 2008.

Although planned down to the minutest detail, what the team’s strategy for this year’s race cannot account for is the sort of unexpected change that so often happens in the Tour. In a three-week stage race a rider’s form, no matter how carefully monitored in the months before the Tour, can suddenly hit a wall.

There is also the possibility that the kind of incident that took Wiggins out of the race 12 months ago could repeat itself. Or stages requiring different gifts can expose inherent failings.

Wiggins is currently 2min 5sec ahead of Froome, who sits just behind him in the general classification, and the Sky leader can expect to take a further two minutes out of his principal rivals – Cadel Evans and Vincenzo Nibali – in next Saturday’s penultimate stage, a 53.5km time trial in which the final order will be determined before the ceremonial procession into Paris.

But anything can happen in the last week of the race and from Wiggins’s point of view the most threatening of the remaining stages are likely to be on Wednesday and Thursday, when the riders enter the High Pyrenees to tackle a series of huge climbs.

The Aubisque, the Tourmalet, the Aspin and the Peyresourde come in succession on the first of those days, followed on the second by the Col de Menté and the Port de Balès, with the stage finishing at the 1,600m summit of Peyragudes, where a challenger will probably have a last chance to snatch the yellow jersey.

What, Froome was asked, would he do if Wiggins showed frailty in the mountains? “If I thought we were going to lose the Tour, I’d follow the best, who could be Nibali or Evans, in order to preserve our chances, to make sure of a Sky presence.”

After finishing second in last year’s Vuelta a Espana, a race he might have won but for Sky’s tactical confusion, and attracting interest from other top teams, Froome signed a new – and very lucrative – four-year contract with the British outfit.

However he was willing to say that he expects preferential treatment if next year’s Tour route suits his strengths. “In that case I would expect Sky to be honest and put my team-mates at my disposal, with the same loyalty that I’m showing now,” he said.

For the moment Sky are perfectly placed with their leader and his first lieutenant at the top of the standings heading into the final week. And orders are orders. But on Thursday night in Peyragudes, when Froome may need to chase down a last attack, the reality of those detailed plans and honourable intentions could emerge in a very different light.