ORANGE, France – Clearly dismayed by repeated questions about doping, the team of Tour de France leader Chris Froome volunteered Monday to open up to independent scrutiny all of its training secrets to try to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” the Briton and teammates are riding clean.
Froome’s evident physical superiority at the 100th Tour has raised eyebrows, practically inevitable in the climate of suspicion that haunts cycling after the downfall of American Lance Armstrong. That despite cycling’s anti-doping controls that are more rigorous, invasive and credible than in some other sports.
Froome, 28, said given the history of doping in cycling, he understands why there are questions and insists he is happy to answer them. Still, without getting flustered or angry, Froome was unhappy doping became a main topic of his news conference on the Monday rest day after his stage victory on Mont Ventoux, the first by a Briton on that mammoth climb in Provence.
“I just think it’s quite sad that we’re sitting here the day after the biggest victory of my life … quite a historic win, talking about doping,” Froome said. “Here I am basically being accused of being a cheat and a liar and that’s not cool.”
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Sky Procycling rider Froome batted away any comparison to Armstrong, saying: “To compare me with Lance, I mean, Lance cheated. I’m not cheating. End of story.”
Team manager Dave Brailsford suggested the World Anti-Doping Agency could appoint an expert who could pore over every facet of Froome’s preparations for the Tour he is leading by more than four minutes, with six stages left to Sunday’s finish in Paris.
This WADA expert “can have everything that we’ve got,” Brailsford said.