Second placed in the overall standings, Great Britain's Christopher Froome (R) looks at overall leader's yellow jersey, British Bradley Wiggins (L) as they ride in the 143,5 km and seventeenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France
Team leader Wiggins – who went on to become the first Briton to win the Tour de France – led the General Classification by more than two minutes ahead of Froome after 10 stages. However, Froome then infamously attacked on Stage 11 with 4km to go, and only slowed down when ordered to do so.
In a book published the following year, Yates claimed Wiggins almost quit the Tour as a result, and the pair addressed the incident on an episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show, available on all major podcast platforms.
Wiggins spoke first, claiming Froome was “shooting bullets in a different direction” to the rest of the team.
“I don’t think I’d packed my bags,” Wiggins said, reflecting on his mindset at the time. “But it can’t go on like this for two weeks. I thought we were all on the same page, if it carries on like this I’ll just go home.
Froome 'broke his promise' in 2012 Tour de France
I took so much stick the year before for failing and I’m starting to get it right, I’m leading the Tour by two minutes so then we had someone shooting bullets in a different direction to what we were doing.
“It’s just trying to understand the situation. All these guys, Richie [Porte], Mick [Rogers], they’d all sacrificed their chances for us to win the Tour. I was leading by two minutes, it wasn’t part of the plan, I was kind of going, ‘What’s going on?’ I couldn’t understand the situation, more than anything.”
Yates then added: “There’s definitely truth in it, Bradley was so focused, it’s a fine line when you’re that focused, that motivated, it can kick either way easily, some more easily than others.
Like Bradley said, for me Froome went back on his word and for me, he’s not a guy I like for that reason. End of story.
At the time, Yates told Froome on the radio from the team car, “You’d better have Brad’s permission for that.”
Bradley Wiggins of Britain (L) trains with team-mate and compatriot Christopher Froome on a Tour rest day in 2012 (Reuters)
Image credit: Getty Images
Recalling that communication, Yates said: “Yes because obviously it wasn’t part of the plan. So I’m thinking, ‘Okay, maybe they had a chat between themselves and Brad said this is okay’, that’s obviously why I questioned him. But there was no conversation, it was not part of the plan.”
Wiggins added: “I think I spoke to him later and in his head he was trying to get more time on Nibali but in doing that he took his eye off the ball.”
Before Yates responded: “But that wasn’t our priority. We had a plan and it suddenly got led astray. Okay, you can take it either way; either he was naïve and didn’t really mean it, this, that and the other.
But when I think of what he’s done since, I think, ‘he’s not that naïve’, he did go back on his word, me, Bradley and Dave B[railsford] were in the room in the back of the bus, we came to an agreement and he reneged on that agreement, end of story.
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Listen to the full episode for more from Brad and Sean.