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Tour champion Chris Froome (Sky) at the Profronde van Surhuisterveen criterium
"It's hugely unfortunate for the team this is now happening"
Tour de France winner Chris Froome has admitted to the BBC that it is "inevitable" that teammate Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's biological passport anti-doping violation will reflect badly on him and on Team Sky.
Tiernan-Locke faces disciplinary proceedings in Britain and a possible four-year ban if found guilty, after the UCI said it found irregularities in his biological passport, which its expert panel believes “has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation.”
Team Sky has said the passport anomaly occurred in 2012 before Tiernan-Locke officially joined Team Sky, but the matter has raised questions about their due diligence before they sign riders and, consequently, the zero tolerance policy to doping that was applied to appease sponsor and team owner BSkyB.
Froome said he expects he will suffer by association with his fellow Briton.
"Definitely. Inevitably, that's the reality of it," he told the BBC. "It's hugely unfortunate for the team this is now happening."
Tiernan-Locke has denied any wrongdoing and has promised to fight to prove his innocence, but has yet to produce a detailed explanation for the significant fluctuations in his blood values that sparked his biological passport violation.
"It's still being contested and there's going to be a trial," Froome said. "I think we're going to have to wait until the end of the trial to actually know exactly what's going to happen."
Froome has repeatedly faced questions about his own performances since finishing second in the 2011 Vuelta a Espana. The scrutiny intensified this year as he dominated at the Tour de France. He has often responded to the accusations, insisting he has nothing to hide.
Like many riders, Froome wants to distance himself from cycling's dirty past and especially the Armstrong generation but the Tiernan-Locke case has dragged Team Sky back into the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Tiernan-Locke is the only WorldTour rider to be snared by the UCI's biological passport this year.
"I really do think the best thing to do with the whole doping culture of the sport, to move past that image that we've had in the past, is to talk about it," Froome argued.
"Be completely open and say: 'Listen, this was is what happened in the sport back then but it's definitely not happening any more, and these are the reasons.'"
Despite his wiling to talk, like many riders in the current peloton, Froome is becoming weary of the stream of doping stories related to Lance Armstrong and events of the last two decades.
"It needs to be talked about and we need to move on from that. But there is going to be a point when enough is enough, and we need to get on and start talking about the good things in the sport and the great racing that's getting missed now because we're harping on about what happened 10 years ago," he claimed.