The 2012 Tour de France final podium (l-r): Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali
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Tour champion hoping to end questions of instability
Having spent time with Bradley Wiggins on a training camp in Mallorca, 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome is keen to end speculation over the fractious relationship between the pair. On the eve of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award this weekend, Froome told The Daily Mail that he wants the sport to move beyond an era of suspicious performances and positive drug tests to a brighter future with Wiggins on his side.
The rivalry between the Tour winners began on the slopes of La Toussuire during stage 11 of the 2012 Tour when Froome attacked his team leader. Wiggins has said that he considered quitting the race in the aftermath of the event but was persuaded by team boss Dave Braisfold to continue to Paris. Froome explained that he wants to move beyond relentless questioning regarding the relationship between the two.
"We're very different people," Froome said. "Brad would say the same. But, like I say, we're in a good place now."
"The fact is Brad and I have just been on a training camp together in Mallorca and we've had a talk about things," said Froome.
"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. To be honest we should have done it a very long time ago, just to clear the air, but we are on good terms now."
The interview by Froome is an attempt to clear the air with reports that Wiggins failed to pay Froome bonuses from the 2012 Tour until the world championships in September this year a sign that a level of animosity was enveloping the duo which was detrimental to team harmony.
In his recently published autobiography, former Sky directeur sportif Sean Yates added further flame to the fire in suggesting that Froome had reneged on his agreement to protect Wiggins until he was safely delivered to top of La Toussuire before attempting to win the stage.
Froome acknowledges that while the episode caused the rift, failing to address the issue contributed to the rupture. "The incident in 2012 was at the root of it all," said Froome. "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."
Both riders have moved towards apologising to each other publically as the team finalises its rider's schedules for next season. After receiving his knighthood this week, Wiggins said he would happily play a support role for Froome next year.
While the saga appears set to play out further with the impending release of Froome's autobiography, for now he is keen to acknowledge past mistakes and move on. "I thought the race had evolved in such a way that opened the door for me to go. Obviously it was the wrong moment. I accept that I read the situation wrong (in 2012)," said Froome.
"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 wants to win more Tour titles and prove it can be achieved without the assistance of performance-enhancing drugs and having Wiggins on side would improve his chances.
"Part of what's driving me is a desire to show, post-Armstrong, that it's possible to have successive Tour victories clean," he says.