Chris Froome (Team Sky) has said there is no reason why he and Bradley Wiggins cannot ride together in same races and perhaps even at the 2014 Tour de France, describing suggestions that the two Britons don’t get on as "an outside look at things".
Froome was speaking briefly on Sky Sports in London before flying to Colorado for the USA Pro Challenge that begins on August 19. It will be his first serious race since winning the Tour de France in July 21 and marks the start of his build-up for the world road race championships in Tuscany.
Froome studied the road race circuit in Florence last week, apparently telling local guide and former professional Roberto Poggiali that he likes the hilly circuit but revealing that he will not ride the individual time trial event for Great Britain. Wiggins will target the time trial but it is unclear if he is willing to be Froome's domestique for the road race.
The two British riders clashed near the end of Wiggins' dominant ride in the 2012 Tour de France and have ridden different race programmes since the Tour of Oman in February. Wiggins admitted that Froome has earned the right to lead Team Sky at the 2014 Tour de France after winning this year but suggested that he may be in the team along side Froome.
"I don’t see any reason why not," Froome said diplomatically. "We're both professionals and we've both won the Tour de France now. There are a lot of races on our calendar but I don’t see why not."
Froome denied there's competition between the two.
"I wouldn't say that. I think it's more of an outside look at things. We’ve never competed at a race together. At each race there's a clear plan and a clear leader. It doesn't happen in pro cycling that you have two guys (from the same team) racing against each other."
A colourful journey from Africa
Froome gave Team Sky's its second consecutive Tour de France victory with a dominant performance in July. He finished 4:20 ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 5:04 ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Froome said he expected a bigger challenge from Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) who was only fourth at a distant 6:27.
"I was expecting more of a battle, a closer race. I thought that Contador would have been closer to where I was. Saying that, it wasn't easy. Every day here was something to overcome, there was always something happening and some big challenges.
"It's been a colourful journey from riding a bike and growing up in Africa to getting into the Euro scene and eventually the Tour de France. It's wasn't easy but that's part of the accomplishment I feel."
Froome praised his teammates for their support and again picked out Richie Porte as Team Sky's next Grand Tour contender.
"My teammates were hugely important. I wouldn't have reached Paris in yellow without their support during every step of the way. They made sure I was hydrated, fed and protected in every moment of the race."
"He (Porte) is definitely one of the best. He put everything on the line to sacrifice his chances to keep me in the yellow. He's one for the future."
Getting ready for the world championships
Froome has ridden a series of criteriums since the Tour de France but will soon do some more serious efforts at altitude at the USA Pro Challenge.
Despite a long hard season and success at the Tour de France, he seems motivated for the world championships in Tuscany.
"It was a huge thing for British cycling for Cavendish to be in the world champion's jersey and it would be an absolute honour to wear the jersey myself," he said.
"It's going to be a really tough race down in Florence, though. It finishes with a hard circuit - keeping in mind it's 280km and over 4000m of climbing - so it's going to be a little bit of a gamble. I think a couple of groups of riders could win it, either a punchier climber or a real pure climber, so it does open the race up to a lot of guys who could do really well there. But that makes it more exciting and I'd like to give it a shot and go for it."