Let’s forget for a second all the doping allegations and rumor aimed at Chris Froome. By far he’s been a better Tour de France winner than last year’s Bradley Wiggins.
Last year Wiggins was unable to deal with the press and media spotlight that comes with the burden of wearing the yellow jersey. As people say, the yellow jersey can give you the strength of ten men, but so does the weight of it off the bike. The result of wearing yellow was Wiggo became standoffish, rude, and just plain douchie.
Froome, on the other hand, has attended press conferences and has portrayed himself in a professional manner answering questions. Even the uncomfortable ones.
The centennial winner of the Tour de France, barring a disaster, has been determined and a new king will be crowned. But part of being the new king means dealing with the pressure. Froome acts like he can wear the crown. He has shown leadership qualities on the road – not afraid to rein in Ritchie Porte when needed, but also giving praise to his Australian right-hand man.
Where Wiggins falls into the new Froome/Sky dynasty I don’t know. Will the moody Englishman resign himself to the Giro and smaller stage races as Froome becomes the new Tour dominator? Are two chiefs one too many in the new Sky empire?
My personal prediction is Wiggins and Froome will both remain on Sky. Wiggins has realized he’s not cut out to be a multiple Tour de France winner, and Froome has shown he can. Sky can assign Wiggins the Giro, various small stage races and one of the bigger North American stage races. That said, rumor has it that Froome might make an appearance at the Tour of Colorado…err… USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Professional sport is all about what have you done for me lately. Look at Andy and Frank Schleck. In the last possible moment Frank was flicked from RadioShack – a squad that he was ready to resume racing with. Trek is taking over the title sponsorship of the team in 2014, and if the Schlecks want to be aboard the reports are their salary is going to be cut to a third of what it once was. There’s a new leader on the team and it’s Fabian Cancellara. He brought the sexy back to the Spring Classics for Trek. The Schlecks? Not so much…
Wiggo is in the same boat. Sure, not as drastic, but 2012 was so long ago. What has Wiggins done for Sky lately? His four-year contract is about to run out, but where does he go? Froome has said he wants to stay in the Merino wool gear of Team Sky. Wiggins will be faced with a choice: play second lieutenant to Froome or go to another squad that can afford him. Remember Porte has shown he’s a capable winner too, so Wiggins hasn’t got a lot of leverage. You can’t swing a cat over your head in a Sky team training camp without hitting a possible grand tour or one-day race winner.
The Tour is done and we have a new Sky Overlord. Froome is a stable choice when it comes to the over running riches that face team principal Dave Brailsford. Perhaps Wiggins will prove me wrong and transfer to Trek? Wiggins to BMC? As soon as the peloton finishes their celebratory laps around the Champs-Élysées the speculation will fly on riders’ transfers. I expect this year’s will be interesting.