Blazin' Saddles

‘We’re in a good place now’: Froome and Wiggins kiss and make up

Wiggins and Froome

Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins have finally patched up their differences after an 18-month feud that produced a major rift in the Team Sky cycling team.

The bad blood between Britain's first ever Tour de France champions began when Froome dropped Wiggins 4km from the end of the Col de la Croix stage - something which Wiggins considered an unforgivable act, given that Froome's sole job was supposed to be helping his team-mate up the mountain.

Wiggins subsequently refused for 14 months to pay Froome his share of his sponsorship bonuses from having won the title.

Froome finally received the money late this year, but the row had led his fiancée Michelle Cound to suggest that Britain's greatest ever road cyclists would never team up again.

But all that has now been put aside, according to 2013 Tour winner Froome, after the duo held frank "clear the air" talks at a winter training camp.

"To be honest we should have done it a very long time ago," Froome told the Daily Mail, "but we are on good terms now.

"Brad and I have just been on a training camp together in Mallorca and we’ve had a talk about things," the 28-year-old added.

"It was very constructive and we are in a good place now. It was important we did that and it was important for the team, too."

Wiggins and Froome fell out on the 2012 Tour - which Wiggins led almost from start to finish - when the race leader was outraged at Froome attacking his own team-mate 4km from the finish of the mountainous Col de la Croix de Fer stage.

Team Sky's former Sports Director Sean Yates later revealed that Wiggins felt "stabbed in the back" and threatened to quit the Tour: Froome had reneged on an agreement to keep Wiggins company until 500m from the finish line, then attack if he wished to try and protect his own second place.

Froome slowed down again after Yates told him to do so via the team radios, but the damage was done - and the relationship has been described as a "running sore" both for the riders and the team, until now.

And Kenyan-born Froome has explained that the whole thing was nothing more than a misunderstanding from the start - one which the glare of the media spotlight turned into something that it should never have been.

"I'm not sure it was that big a problem but it was all played out so much in the media, it was allowed to escalate," he said, explaining that he thought Wiggins was already safe from attack.

"It was a huge misunderstanding where I thought I was reading the race right. I thought the race had evolved in such a way that opened the door for me to go.

"Obviously it was the wrong moment.

"And I thought if something happens to Brad, like it had the previous year when he crashed, I want to be in the strongest possible position if I’m then asked to take over. It didn’t even cross my mind to attack Brad.

"People need to remember the Vuelta the year before, when Brad dropped off on the climbs and the team suddenly said, 'Well, you go for GT (general classification)'. But I was too far behind by then and I lost the race, finishing second, by something like 11 seconds.

"I accept that I read the situation wrong (in 2012). I thought Brad was fine. But it very quickly became apparent that it was a problem and that I needed to stop and come back, which is what I did."

Froome admitted that the public Twitter comments in subsequent months by his fiancee Michelle didn't help, but added that "she was just defending me".

He also remained adamant that the sort of thinking-on-your-feet cycling that sparked all the problems is actually part of what has made him so successful.

"I like to think I’m quite an instinctive racer. We always go into a stage with a plan but a race is such a delicate thing. It’s always evolving. It can just be about the moment. It’s as much a psychological battle as a physical one, about who gives in first.

"I’ve always recognised that the pain you suffer in that moment is temporary, and I always tell myself how much I will enjoy it afterwards if I can endure that pain."