Wiggins and Froome happy to crank up Tour de France rivalry

Team Sky colleague Geraint Thomas tells all to Josh Richards

ROWS over which Team Sky member will lead next month’s Tour de France look to be undermining the preparations of champion Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, yet team-mate Geraint Thomas is convinced the pair are happily adding fuel to the fire to keep cycling in the headlines for the right reasons.

Froome has received assurances from team boss Sir Dave Brailsford that he will be supported as leader in a quest to become only the second Briton, after Wiggins, to win the Tour, yet Sir Bradley says he will not concede his title without a fight.

Road and track cycling’s stock is at an all-time high in Britain, with interest aided by Team GB’s 26-medal haul from the last two Olympic Games, as well as Wiggins’ historic success in France.

Tensions between the colourful team-mates only adds to intrigue in the sport, which has been tainted by a series of doping scandals with the latest seeing Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes trialled for giving blood transfusions to cyclists.

But Thomas, who won Olympic team pursuit gold alongside Wiggins in 2008, is happy the in-team rivalry ensures he reads about cycling on the back pages rather than the front.

“You need those stories and characters to make cycling interesting to the public,” Thomas, who will play a supporting role in the Tour, told City A.M.

“A lot of it has been blown up. I was with Froomey the other day and he laughs about it. He’ll probably chirp something just to stir it up a bit. They love what’s going on at the moment.

“Cycling seems to be the sport being dragged down [by scandal], the bad sport where everyone is dirty and doing stuff. In fact it’s the sport doing most to catch people.

“It’s great Fuentes is being punished, because it’s those people at the top making money out of it. It’s all very well catching the riders but they are bottom of the food chain.”

Thomas is used to competing in the shadow of household names such as Mark Cavendish and Sir Chris Hoy, such has been the level of recent success for British cyclists.

But, with a C.V. boasting World Track Cycling and Olympic gold medals, the former school-mate of Spurs star Gareth Bale and Lions captain Sam Warburton, is more than happy with his own achievements.

“I dreamt about winning a gold medal when I was a kid, so to have two is nuts,” said Thomas.

“Two medals is nothing these days though – it’s the norm. Expectation is massive now, but it shows we’re doing something right.”

Geraint Thomas supports the Wiggle Etape Cymru, the UK’s toughest closed road cyclosportive, held on Sunday 8 September. humanrace.co.uk/events/cycling/etape-cymru