Tour de France champion Chris Froome believes that ‘people want to stop talking about doping’ and again stated his desire to win multiple Tour de France titles.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph that took place during a recent Team Sky training camp in Mallorca, Spain, Froome told the British publication that, “I genuinely believe people want to stop talking about doping now. They want to have someone to believe in."
Asked if he fit the bill, the British rider responded: “Well, I definitely feel a responsibility to show people the sport has changed. I understand why there are still a lot of critics, cynicism and doubters out there. Of course, no-one can actually know 100 percent if I’m clean or not, except me. And I know I am, that my results will stand the test of time.”
Froome and his Sky team faced a barrage of questions in the last 18 months. They began to increase when Bradley Wiggins began his ride to victory during the Tour in 2012 and they became more intense due to the team’s hiring of doctor Geert Leinders. The Belgian doctor has been accused of doping riders at Rabobank and is under investigation in his home country.
The USADA investigation of Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team forced the sport under an ever closer microscopic gaze with Sky requiring their staff to sign a zero tolerance doping statement. It led to several resignations from within the team staff. Froome’s march to victory in 2013 involved him winning every stage race he started before the Tour – bar Tirreno – and come July the rider and his team faced persistent questions over the credibility of their performances.
The team took the step of releasing select but not historically complete data to L'Equipe’s physiologist Frederic Grappe, who stated that the rider’s performances were consistent.
Several months on from the Tour and Froome admits that there will always be critical views of his results since a surprise second place at the 2011 Vuelta.
“We can’t force people to believe, it’s going to take time. I know I have a big responsibility but it’s not hard to be clean and to be a champion. Doping has never ever crossed my mind. It’s not an option. I’d rather go and scrub factory floors for a living than cheat to get where I am,” he told The Telegraph.
Tour de France 2014
Froome’s major objective for next season remains winning his second and Team Sky’s third straight Tour title. In 2013 Froome combined his climbing strengths with excellent performances in the time trials. Even when his team was found wanting or exposed he stood resolute in the face of several attacks before cementing his authority in the final week of the race. Despite the dominance he showed in July, he echoed the opinion of team principle Dave Brailsford in insisting that he can improve.
“I still think I can get much better. I’m obviously a decent climber but there are things I can do to improve. Like I’m not the smoothest rider. I’m rugged, all elbows and knees.
“Each time I ride a Grand Tour at the front, I’m learning.
“A lot of guys have struggled to back it up after winning the Tour. Basically, the last guy who was able to was [Lance] Armstrong and we all now know what he was doing. So there’s a bad perception around multiple winning. I want to try to change that.”
Last week it was announced that Froome had signed an improved contract with Team Sky.