The battle of the cycleWags: How the feud between Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome has extended to their partners

There is confusion over who will lead Team Sky's charge during the Tour de France, with both riders staking a claim

Cycling's longest simmering feud is threatening to reach boiling point once again - but it's not the men in the saddles stoking the flames.

Sir Bradley Wiggins lines up at the start of the three-week Giro d’Italia today, for what he hopes will culminate in the first leg of a Grand Tour double, having stated his determination to go on and defend his Tour de France title come June. That announcement earlier in the week outraged Michelle Cound, the fiancée of his teammate and rival Chris Froome, who finished second in Paris last year after playing a critical supporting role in the historic win.

Following the barbed exchange with Sir Bradley’s wife, Cath, during the 2012 Tour, inevitably dubbed “War of the Wags”, Cound is now lobbing more tweets at the Wiggins camp. In a message, hastily deleted overnight on Thursday, she said there were “blatant lies from Brad” in an article by respected journalist William Fotheringham. The 33-year-old Olympic champion had said that Team Sky “may run with both of us”, referring to possible co-leadership of the nine-strong Tour de France team.

In cycling’s blue riband event, teams with podium intentions tend to ride in the support of one man, yet Britain and Team Sky are blessed with two world-class riders. Wiggins said the leader would not be decided until days before the Grand Depart in Corsica on 29 June. Froome rushed out a statement reiterating he had been assured by management the No 1 spot is his.

Tensions are extremely high. Wiggins stonewalled any questions about Froome and the Tour at the official Giro launch in Naples on Thursday, telling reporters to talk to Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford. He is staying silent, which cannot be said of Cound. She demanded: “I look forward to @TeamSky clearing up this mess (ASAP) #fedup.” Cound added to the intrigue yesterday by tweeting: “Everything is being resolved.”

Team Sky is privately briefing that Wiggins is their No 1 for the Giro and Froome is team leader for the Tour.

Mrs Wiggins is keeping her powder dry, having deleted her Twitter account in the aftermath of defending her husband’s one-fingered salute to paparazzi when he left hospital last November, having been knocked over by a Porsche during a training ride.

The Wiggins-Froome rivalry is fast becoming the most tense in sport, surpassing even that of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in Formula One’s Red Bull team.

And Cound, a cycling photographer, hinted earlier this week that she did not expect the pair to race together. “Chris & Brad on the same start line, in the same kit? Mmmmmm … doubt it!” she said, adding: “To those claiming this Wiggins/Froome thing is some sort of publicity stunt, you are wrong.”

Referring to their partners in an interview earlier this year, Froome said: “Obviously they had rubbed each other up the wrong way. That’s life.”

But Cound is trampling on anyone who defends Wiggins’s right to retain the Tour winner’s yellow jersey. When Fotheringham declared “Why would he [Wiggins] not want to win the Tour?” Cound pounced: “Sounds like @willfoth is a bit of a puppet in all of this”, she tweeted. That too has been deleted.

Having spent the day with Froome on a recon mission of Mont Ventoux, one of the Tour de France’s toughest climbs, Cound told The Independent “everything should be clarified by the team by tomorrow” (Saturday).

Just like their partners,  the women are equally strong characters and have disparate backgrounds. Born in Wales, Cound spent the first five years of her life in Port Talbot until she and her family moved to South Africa. She and Froome now divide their time between there and Monaco – dubbed “a shit-hole” by Wiggins last year when asked if he would ever leave the UK. “I couldn’t think of a worse place to live.”

Cath Wiggins has stayed close to her Lancastrian roots. Her home is Eccleston, close to the Pennines, with her husband and their children Ben and Isabella.

Revenge is Tweet: Cound’s comments

@michellecound 2 May

@willfoth @mattseaton @inrng there were blatant lies from Brad in your initial story William. Unless you misquoted?

@michellecound 1 May

@Greg_Keller sounds like @willfoth is a bit of a puppet in all of this.

@michellecound 30 Apr

I look forward to @TeamSky clearing up this mess (ASAP). #fedup

@michellecound 30 Apr

To those claiming that this Wiggins/Froome thing is some sort of publicity stunt, you are wrong.

@michellecound 30 Apr

Chris & Brad on the same start line, in the same kit? Mmmmmm… doubt it!

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map