Chris Froome flies to Paris today to begin the Tour de France’s final stage with his phone’s inbox empty. Not one message from Sky team-mate and last year’s winner, Bradley Wiggins.

He revealed yesterday after securing his title, “I haven’t heard from Bradley in the Tour.”

Wiggins is scheduled to return in the Tour of Poland (July 27August 3) and Tour of Britain (September 15-22) en route to the World Championship time trial. He has not raced since abandoning the Giro d’Italia mid-way in May in due to a chest infection and a sore knee.

Before and during the Giro, Wiggins and Froome crossed swords. Wiggins said that he would focus strictly on the Giro and help Froome in the Tour, but changed his mind when asked later. He explained prior to the Giro that if he won, he’d like to give the Giro/Tour double a crack.

Froome defended his right to lead the Sky Force in France and the team’s top brass stood behind him. Wiggins eventually abandoned the Giro so it became a moot point, as quiet as the phone lines between Froome and Sir Bradley.

“I’ve been in contact with Brad during the Tour. For sure,” Brailsford told Cycling Weekly yesterday in Annecy. “He’s good.”

After Froome stepped up, it may be hard on Wiggins to handle the inevitable team leadership questions at the Tour of Britain. With Froome on top of the cycling world and his Giro disappointment, Wiggins stands at a crossroads. Wiggins’ plan for 2014 is a mystery and more so, if it comes second to Froome’s programme.

“He merits all the accolades that he gets, he’s a fantastic athlete,” Brailsford continued.

“He’s got a programme through the Worlds. He’s obviously had an injury, he comes back now for the second half of the season and he’ll be brilliant. Then we’ll look at next year and where we go, but he’s a massive asset to have for anybody. We’ll want to make sure that he gets his opportunities and we race with him in the team in the future.”

Brailsford would not say if Wiggins would switch gears from Grand Tours to one-day and time trials. “People can speculate,” he added. “I’m not planning next year now at the Tour de France.”

Froome being Froome played it politically correct.

“I’d love to comeback and contend as long as I can,” Froome said yesterday.

“The decision is very much based on the parcours and how suited it is to me and my team-mates. I’d love to come back to the Tour every year but that decision has to be made based on the route and the team’s decision.”

All living Tour de France finishers, from lanterne rouge to maillot jaune, are invited in Paris this evening to celebrate the 100th edition. If Wiggins arrives, he will have his first chance to extend his hand and say “chapeau” to Froome.

Cycling Weekly will be covering the final stage of the 2013 Tour de France to Paris with live text updates and chat from around 5pm.

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Tour de France 2013: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

  • PJK1972

    Lee,

    If Brad was to switch teams where would he go?

    Garmin? – A former rider of theirs. They have Ryder as a GC contender who hasn’t performed this year. Dan Martin is being groomed as a possible GC contender but isn’t there yet. – I think Brad would be a good fit. English speaking team as well.

    BMC? – Are they giving up with Cadel for next year? TJ really disappointed as well in the Tour so I think this isn’t as much of a long shot for Brad to move there as people might think.

    Cannondale? – Since Nibali left they concentrate on Sagan, but he is not a GC rider. Could be a fit for Brad although they are looking for more American riders since Liquigas left and turned the team into an Amercian one.

    I don’t think Spanish or French teams would want him. The Belgian teams Lotto and OPQS don’t soley target GC. Belkin have Mollema and Tendam. Astana have Nibali and Fulsang. Katusha have Rodriguez but he is getting on a bit now, so maybe.

    I think he’ll end up staying at Sky but just targeting the GIRO again next year.

  • lee

    Thier’s obviously some degree of frisson there but I feel they can do it but it takes a ‘bit to do it’…I’ve thought he’ll be on a different team but which one ? – would he fit into etc…thats a biggy !

  • georges cousteau

    Wiggins will be in a different team next season!! End of!

  • Seacilin

    Oh for heaven’s sake, Cycling Weekly, please remember that this is actually supposed to be a magazine about cycling and not the Daily Fail. Stop trying to incite discord and idle speculation. None of us are privy to what goes on behind closed doors or what the team’s strategy is going forward – for all we know, Wiggins could have been asked specifically to keep a low profile so as not to distract from Froome’s extraordinary achievement. You are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  • anon

    to right pee bee, i do like froome but i think last year he was bang out of order so i wouldn’t be supprised if those 2 weren’t on speaking terms!

  • Graeme

    Why doesn`t this story surprise me?
    There was definited friction between the two(and their respective spouses)in the TDF last year and BW isn`t dishing out the love about Froome in his post TDF book either.
    Different team next year???

  • gh

    Oh come on, PeeBee, he is meant to rise above all that and be a mensch. Fact is his silence is churlish and most people would acknowledge that if it weren’t for the Wiggo ego Froome would now have 3 grand tours. Froome won a more mountainous race against better competition. An attacking climber is a better winner and it made for a more exciting race.

  • Pee Bee

    Manners? This is “Gentleman Wiggins” you’re talking about. One assumes he has the manners not to be premature as he is not counting chickens until the fat lady sings, although God forbid we have a repeat of the L.G. national anthem incident. However, I would not blame Sir Bradley for a statesman like silence after suffering last year’s Twitter comments from certain quarters coupled with the interesting circumstances surrounding his not being present to defend his title.

  • gg/gg

    Such manners from a supposed “Team mate”