Chris Froome said he struggled to trust Sir Bradley Wiggins as leader in the 2012 Tour de France.
Froome was a key lieutenant to Wiggins that year with the Team Sky pair eventually finishing first and second in Paris, as Wiggins became the first Brit to ever take home the yellow jersey.
But Froome says he found it difficult to trust his leader, after Wiggins lost the Vuelta a España in the final week the previous year.
Speaking to Nico Rosberg on the retired Formula One driver’s podcast Beyond Victory, Froome said: “There were definitely a couple of moments where I thought ‘right I’m going to go for it now.’
“But the team orders and the guys calling the shots in the car were straight onto me and called me back.”
Froome, now a four-time Tour de France winner, added: “The difficult part for me was trusting him as the leader, given that in the last big race, the Vuelta a España, I’d gone there to support him and he fell apart in the last few days.
“The team turned to me and said ‘right now you have to try and win it’.
“Going into the Tour de France I had this in my mind. I was thinking ‘I’m doing a job for this guy, but if he falls apart in the last few days I need to be in the position to take over again.’”
Speculation about an internal struggle mounted during the 2012 Tour, fuelled by Froome appearing to attack Wiggins on La Toussuire during stage 11.
Froome was ordered back by the team and he followed the direction eventually finishing second, 3-21 down to Wiggins.
The following year, Froome won his first Tour.
He said: “[Wiggins] has never won the Tour de France at that time. Okay I’d never won it either, but there were a lot of reservations in my mind.
“I was also quite young at that time. I had more Tours to come. He was at the peak of his career, that was his year.
“Being part of a team you have to make sacrifices here and there. That was a sacrifice for me.
“I don’t regret it, that’s sport.”
Froome will return to the Tour this year as he strives for a record-equalling fifth title.
His 2018 attempt fell short, as the yellow jersey went to his team-mate Geraint Thomas.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1