Team Sky’s 2014 campaign begins this week with the long-running feud between Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome still far from resolved.
On the eve of the team’s pre-season training camp stories circulated indicating that the rift between Britain’s two Tour de France winners is even greater than we thought. And to compound matters team boss Sir Dave Brailsford still seems reluctant to confront his two stars on the matter.
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Brailsford says that he takes the blame for Britain’s disastrous performance at the World Championships, where we did not finish a single rider in the men’s road race despite Froome starting as a race favourite. Brailsford failed to resolve the differences between the two riders and instead of Wiggins working for Froome, he retired to the team bus as soon as possible.
Prior to the Worlds, Brailsford did manage to make Wiggins pay Froome his bonus for helping him win the 2012 Tour. A payment of up to 30,000 euros was made the week before the race, only 14 months late, but it was the first step in building bridges.
“Chris was supposed to sit down with Brad before the Worlds and it just never happened.” Froome’s fiancée, Michelle Cound, told the Times newspaper.
Brailsford acknowledges that it was his fault. “The buck stops with me,” he says. Sir Dave isn’t a fan of underperformance. This week in Majorca he should be knocking a few heads together.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly magazine