Defending Tour de France champion explains why disagreeing is good for both him and his Welsh teammate this season

Chris Froome has downplayed the potential for a destructive rivalry at Team Sky between himself and Geraint Thomas in 2016, saying that he does not see the Welshman as a threat to his ambition to win a third Tour de France this summer.

After enjoying a breakthrough Tour in 2015, Thomas has made his intentions clear to focus on stage racing and target the general classification at the Tour as a protected rider this season.

However, Froome believes that there will be no repeat of 2012 and 2013, when the relationship between him and Bradley Wiggins deteriorated following the pair’s one-two at the 2012 Tour de France.

“I find it very hard to see things with G [Geraint Thomas] going that way. I think, just the both of our characters, we’re both pretty open and honest with each other,” Froome said at Sky’s 2016 training camp in Majorca.

“In every team you’ve got little arguments with the guys around you and that’s great, that’s only healthy that you have those arguments and you talk about what you think you can be doing better or what you’re not doing.”

When asked whether he was confident the pair could weather any future rifts, he replied: “I think just being generally just open with each other, that would help kill any issues before they arise.”


 


Froome explained that it would “be the dream” if Thomas could accompany him to the podium in Paris this July, adding that the pair’s relationship, which stretches back to the Barloworld team in 2008, would make any shared success even more special.

“G and I have been racing together since 2008, when I joined Barloworld and G had been there for a year, so we do go back quite a long way now,” Froome said. “Not as long or far back as the guys on the [British Cycling] Academy or anything but it’s quite a special feeling to have both been one of the founding riders of Team Sky.”

>>> Comment: Chris Froome’s new contract with Team Sky could see him become Tour de France great

With the departure of close friend, training partner and super-domestique Richie Porte to BMC, Froome expects Thomas to fulfil much of the same role this season. Both live in Monaco and have regularly trained together this winter, with Thomas’s recent improvements helping to spur him on.

“[Geraint is] not a threat,” Froome said. “It’s good for me that there’s someone right there snapping at my heels, that if I’m not up to delivering the goods then someone else will. It’s good pressure on me.”

  • Abhishek Goyal

    Great answer. Very balanced. Thumbs Up.

    I agree there but TdF is basically about going uphill. Also, a TdF champion will always be paid and respected more than a TT specialist any day. Brad is special. Completely agreed.

  • ruisliptiger

    And what is so funny about being a Sir. He has done plenty to earn it.

  • ruisliptiger

    Slate Brad all you want but he’s an amazing Cyclist. One of the best all rounders ever. Froome is better than him a going up hills. Brad pretty much cleans up in every other discipline.

    I totally respect both positions in 2012. What Froome did was clearly with a view to 2013. He’d already being playing second fiddle to Brad for a couple of years. You have to put these thoughts in the minds of your bosses. At no point did his actions risk the Tour victory. Yet he got himself noticed. Mission accomplished.

    Brad had been a key part of building up Team Sky. His whole career, and British Cycling in general had been building to that point. He was strong enough to do it and it was right that he lead that Tour. There were still questions Froome had to answer at the start of that Tour.

    Plus if Froome was seen as a direct competitor, I’m sure different tactics would’ve come into play so we can never truly know.

  • hailpantani

    That’s the point – Froome shouldn’t have attacked his protected leader. It was his job to protect Wiggins, whether he was stronger on that particular climb or not. As regards Wiggo, he has never been the type of climber to instantly respond to an attack in the mountains. Just like Cadel Evans, he would grind his way back at his own cadence. He would have made it back at his own speed. By the way, disloyalty stinks whichever way you look at it.

  • Abhishek Goyal

    Just for the record…
    Chris Froome proved he was stronger of the two when he attacked. Brad had cracked, even though Froomey took all the wind. He was STRONGEST GC contendor in 2012 Tdf.
    As for G, he has not proven that he is stronger than Froome in GTs. We’ll have to see how he does in the coming GTs.

  • yoda_i_am

    Ha, “I think just being generally just open with each other, that would help kill any issues before they arise.” You mean like Sky were open with Froome that Wiggins was the leader and he chose to sod off up the road and attack anyway?

  • hailpantani

    Interesting. So his behaviour when ‘protecting’ Wiggins was ok? And btw, if GT doesn’t start riding for himself soon in GT’s, it will never happen.