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Chris Froome: BMC rumours are 'complete rubbish'

Martin James
8 Jun 2017

Team Sky leader dismisses claims that he's looking to leave Team Sky over its handling of the jiffy bag issue

Defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome has dismissed rumours that he’s looking to engineer a move from Team Sky to BMC Racing next year as ‘complete rubbish’.

A report in French newspaper l’Equipe today claims Froome is disillusioned by the negative publicity surrounding Team Sky and its handling of the ‘jiffy bag’ affair, and wants to join good friend and former teammate Richie Porte at BMC.

Froome, who is contracted to Sky until the end of 2018, reportedly wants a salary of €5 million a year. BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz is said to have rejected the initial approach.

However, speaking to Cyclingnews at the start of Stage 5 of the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine this morning, Froome said the entire report was completely false.

‘Complete rubbish. I don’t know where that’s come from,’ Froome is quoted as saying. ‘As it stands I have a contract until the end of 2018. I’ve got no intentions of leaving. I’ve not even thought about it. There’s been no discussion with Ochowicz.’

The basis of the L’Equipe report is that Froome is unhappy with Team Sky and boss Sir Dave Brailsford’s handling of questions around a mystery package that was delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine in 2011.

Serious doubts

The fallout from that issue, and the news that Wiggins was issued Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) in the run-up to his 2012 Tour de France win, has cast serious doubts over Sky’s clean image in recent months.

It has also raised doubts about Froome’s own performances – he finished second in the 2012 Tour before going on to win it in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

A move to BMC would potentially see Froome link up with good friend and former Sky teammate Richie Porte, who was a valuable ally in helping Froome win the 2013 and 2015 Tours.

It’s unlikely that Porte would welcome a reunion, however. The Australian made the move from Sky to BMC at the end of the 2015 season specifically to pursue his own GC ambitions, and is currently second-favourite behind Froome to win the 2017 Tour.

Both are currently in action at the Criterium du Dauphine in France, and Porte won yesterday’s Stage 4 time-trial, beating Froome by 37 seconds to underline his strong pre-Tour form.

Public support

Rumours that Froome is unhappy at Sky have persisted for months now, despite the rider making it clear – on the surface at least – that he supports both the team and Brailsford himself.

 ‘Looking around the group, riders and staff, I’m surrounded by such a great group of guys who want to work hard and do things the right way,’ Froome said in a statement in December.

‘I don’t think it’s fair that this casts a shadow on that and the work that everyone is doing now.’

In March, however, Froome wasn’t among the majority of Sky riders to tweet their support for Brailsford when calls were made for the Sky boss to resign. It was also claimed that Sky had backtracked on plans to publish a letter of support for Brailsford signed by the team’s riders because Froome had refused to join them.

That led to Froome issuing another statement saying Brailsford had ‘created one of the best sports teams in the world. Without Dave B, there would be no Team Sky.’