The 2018 Tour de France winner opened up about the tensions within Team Sky during the 3-week race in an interview for the Guardian. The management reportedly continued to back Froome as if he were the one in the lead. Despite the fact that the Brit was trailing since the opening stage.
Thomas mentioned two particular moments where Dave Brailsford’s preference clearly showed. The first one was the team time trial before which Thomas was told that Froome would be the only one protected in case of a puncture or mechanical breakdown.
“That’s a bit shit. Fucking hell, guys, could you really not wait for me?” Thomas recalled himself saying while he sat there stewing.
“I was frustrated because I thought I was also a protected rider. But it’s not a decision they took lightly. They would have thought about it and debated it. I said my bit, and they said, ‘No.’ So you have to accept it. The likelihood [of a puncture] is really slim but at the time I thought it’s a shit situation. Yeah, it dragged me down a bit, but you let it go.”
The second situation he recalled was after the brutal stage nine on the cobbles to Roubaix. “It was really hot in the hotel but when they put the air-con units on for all eight riders the electricity tripped. So they said: ‘Only one person can have it – Froomey.’”
Thomas managed to find a unit in the hotel, wheeled it back to his room, and put it on anyway. It didn’t trip out and he did get some well-deserved rest. At that point, he was second in the GC, while Froome sat in ninth place.
Despite the tensions, however, Thomas said that he and Froome stayed on good terms.
“The biggest thing with Froomey was that it was never awkward. He would have been gutted because he wanted to win a fifth Tour and three grand tours on the trot. But when he congratulated me he seemed genuine, and since the Tour we’ve had a couple of nights out.”
Will the camaraderie continue in 2019? The jostling for Team Sky leader’s position alone should make for an interesting Tour to watch.
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) October 25, 2018
“The team obviously know I can do it now. So I think we’ll be on a level playing field. I’m confident that, as long as we’re honest and open, we can both go for it. I’d happily help Froomey if he got through the first block of mountains and he’s strongest. I wouldn’t ride against him to try to win then.”
Would Chris Froome do the same? What do you think?