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Tour de France champion Chris Froome told BBC Sport that a spot for 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins on Sky’s squad this July was still uncertain.
“Bradley Wiggins’ role in the Tour de France is a decision the team needs to come to,” Froome said. “Bradley has been talking about a supporting role. It is a hot topic who is going to be in the final nine selected.”
Froome and Wiggins had a falling out at the 2012 Tour after Froome appeared to disobey team orders and attack Wiggins, briefly, near the finish of stage 11, before settling into his role as a domestique. Though he would go on to win the Tour, with Froome finishing second, Wiggins later admitted that Froome’s attack had rattled him, and that he’d considered quitting the race.
Later, after Sky had announced that Froome would be the team’s leader for the 2013 Tour, Wiggins suggested that he would seek to defend his title, an act that drew a swift response from Froome, with a statement declaring that he’d been promised sole leadership.
As it was, Wiggins had a somewhat disastrous 2013 season that saw him abandon the Giro d’Italia and miss the Tour altogether while Froome won several stage races en route to winning the Tour, Sky’s second in as many years under two riders publicly at odds with one another.
In his book, “Inside Team Sky,” Sunday Times chief sports writer David Walsh wrote that Wiggins withheld Froome’s share of 2012 Tour de France prize money, only paying up during the 2013 world championships in Florence, 14 months after the Tour had finished, and at the insistence of Sky manager Dave Brailsford.
Both men are on top form in 2014, with Froome taking overall wins at the Tour of Oman and Tour of Romandie, while Wiggins finished an impressive ninth at Paris-Roubaix, and won the overall at the Amgen Tour of California on the basis of a scorching performance in the race’s 20km time trial.
After winning California, Wiggins said he would be happy to ride in a support role for Froome in July, telling VeloNews, “I’ve said all along, I’ve said from the start of the season, if I’m fortunate enough to be at the Tour, it’ll be in support of Chris. I can’t say that [enough].”
However, asked by the BBC, in the context of an interview about his new book, “The Climb,” which is coauthored by Walsh, Froome said nothing had been determined about Sky’s 2014 Tour team.
“It comes down to what is best for the team,” Froome said, “and who is going to do the best for the dynamics of the team.”
In his book, Froome also accuses Wiggins of being “arrogant” in an interview he gave during that Tour when discussing Froome’s support role and, more generally, of hiding behind humor and a “gruff geezer cloak,” writing, “we rode around him and his moods like he was a traffic island.”