LONDON • Cath Wiggins, the wife of retired cycling great Bradley, was forced to apologise on Thursday after calling Chris Froome "a slithering reptile" on social media.
She stirred the controversy over Froome's adverse drugs test by posting a story on Facebook about the possibility of the British rider being stripped of his Vuelta a Espana title.
A urine sample taken after Froome's victory revealed twice the permitted level of the asthma drug salbutamol.
She appeared to believe the story deserved more prominence when she wrote: "I am going to be sick. Nothing in the news.
"If I was given to conspiracy theory, I'd allege they'd thrown my boy under the bus on purpose to cover for this slithering reptile."
Her husband has had his own fight to save his reputation after revelations of three injections for a powerful corticosteroid and the mystery of a Jiffy bag delivered to him in France at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine race.
Tensions between the Wiggins camp and the Froomes have raged since the pair were awkward team-mates at Team Sky.
Their respective wives had a spat on Twitter during the 2012 Tour de France when Froome helped Wiggins to victory.
Cath Wiggins praised various Sky riders, but not Froome, during the race for "genuine, selfless effort and true professionalism" only for Michelle Cound, who is now Froome's wife, to respond: "If you want loyalty, get a Froome dog, a quality I value although being taken advantage of by others!"
Froome had distanced himself from Bradley Wiggins during the latter's attempts to defend himself over the injections, and Cath Wiggins appears to have attempted her retaliation.
She subsequently took down the post and on Thursday, put up another message saying: "Sorry everyone for my emotional comments and insults. Too much stress has got the better of me."
Tony Martin, one of Froome's rivals, said that it was a "scandal" that Froome had not been suspended and suggested that Team Sky "enjoy a special status".
Martin, the four-time world time-trial champion, wrote on Facebook: "I am angry. There is a double standard being applied in the Christopher Froome case."
THE TIMES, LONDON