Chris Froome: Mountain attacks were “in no way an attempt to overthrow Wiggins”
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chris Froome: Mountain attacks were “in no way an attempt to overthrow Wiggins”

by Ben Atkins at 10:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Tour de France runner up seeks to end speculation that he could have ridden for himself in July

chris froomeChris Froome (Team Sky) has once again sought to set the record straight on the events of this year’s Tour de France in a blog on his personal website. The 27-year-old finished the race second overall, 3’21” behind team leader Bradley Wiggins, as the British team took the first two spots on the podium. As Froome proved stronger than Wiggins in the mountains however, taking a stage victory at la Planche des Belles Filles at the end of the first week, many called for the younger rider to be able to ride for himself.

Such was Froome’s climbing prowess, compared to Wiggins’, that he had to be called back on two occasions; some felt that he was being betrayed by his team, while others felt that he was the one doing the betraying.

“The 2012 Tour de France was an enormous success for us at Team Sky,” Froome’s blog begins. “We set out to win the yellow jersey and not only did we do that but we came away with six stage wins and a second place overall to go with it.”

Almost four months on however, the ‘Froome-dog’ still finds himself having to explain his role within that success.

“I recently gave an interview which I feel was edited to sound as if I harbour ill feelings about how we tackled the race,” he writes.

The Kenyan-born rider sympathises with Mark Cavendish, if the then World champion had been promised a team around him, but emphasises that Team Sky’s main goal was always overall victory for Wiggins.

“Another aspect of the tour which I feel has been discussed incessantly for the past four months is the possibility that I may have won if team orders were different,” Froome writes. “Who knows? What's to say that one of my other team mates like Mick Rogers wouldn't have won if we had ridden for him? My role going into the tour was to be a backup contender for the general classification, should something happen to Wiggins (as was the case in last year's tour).”

Despite losing time on the first road stage, where he punctured in the closing kilometres into Seraing, Froome emphasises that his role remained to stay as high up in the general classification; this meant taking time out of the rest of Team Sky’s rivals.

“When I attacked on La Toussuire, I had just paced Wiggins back to the leading group of contenders that contained [Vincenzo] Nibali, who was our main rival and had attacked on the earlier slopes,” he explains. “[Cadel] Evans had already been dropped. It was in no way an attempt to overthrow Wiggins and try go for yellow myself.

“I thought it was the perfect moment to make up time over Nibali and Evans but when I heard on the radio that Wiggins was in difficulty I immediately abandoned that idea to escort Wiggins to the finish.”

"Disappointed" to be denied at Peyragudes

The second time that Froome was called back by his team did frustrate him however, he admits, since it cost him the chance to take his second stage victory on the never-before visited finish at Peyragudes.

“The one point of the race which I felt a bit disappointed was on the summit finish of Peyragudes on Stage 17 which was won by [Alejandro] Valverde,” he explains. “We had dropped all the other riders who were even remotely a threat to us and I felt I had the legs to go after Valverde. I asked Wiggins if I could go, he told me it would be pointlessOver the radio Sean Yates instructed me to stay with Wiggins until the finish.

“I didn't feel that pushing on at that moment would have compromised the yellow jersey,” he added. “I would have jumped at the prospect of winning another stage had I been given the green light. Even so, I'm not bitter about it as I know there will be many more opportunities in the future.”

Despite his disappointment, Froome reminds his readers that the “team element” is strong in cycling, and that “as professional cyclists we all have an obligation to the team we ride for.”

“I feel incredibly privileged to have been part of the winning team at the tour and also for having won a stage, both of which are firsts for me,” he adds. “This year's tour confirmed to me that what I achieved in the Vuelta last year wasn't just a once off performance, that it's not just some far off dream to be able to contend for the top spot in our sport's biggest tours.”

Froome is expected to “contend for the top spot” of the Tour de France next year, as Wiggins aims for the Giro d’Italia. No doubt the relationship between the two British rivals will come under similar scrutiny and speculation.

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