Chris Froome (Team Sky) believes that he has been subjected to a higher level of scrutiny than some of his rivals. Speaking at the start of a criterium race in Belgium this weekend, Froome admitted that riders do have to go the extra mile to prove their innocence but said all Grand Tour winners should have to answer the same level of questioning.
“There’s nothing against me, I’ve done nothing wrong,” he told Sporza. “Of course, in this day and age, we do need to go a bit further to prove to other people, but how much further do we need to go? Is every rider releasing their data, is every rider being asked the same questions I’m being asked? I don’t think so. Until we get to that level playing field where every Grand Tour winner has the same level of questioning then it’s not correct that it should be just aimed at me.”
Froome endured a deluge of doping questions en route to his second Tour de France victory. The height of it came after data from Froome’s stage-winning ascent of Mont Ventoux in 2013 was leaked. The Sky rider would later blame ‘irresponsible’ reporting when a spectator threw urine on him during stage 14.
In light of the heavy questioning, it was announced that Froome would undergo independent testing to prove his innocence – although the team or Froome himself have not yet indicated when or how this will take place. Any independent testing will likely have to be with the help of the World Anti-Doping Agency, leading anti-doping expert Robin Parisotto told Cyclingnews last month.
Froome won the Tour de France by just over a minute to Nairo Quintana (Movistar), although he had double that going into the final mountain stage. It was the second time that Froome stood on the podium in Paris, after beating Quintana two years prior.
Froome has been riding critériums in the week since the Tour de France finished and is yet to confirm his post-Tour schedule. His rivals Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) have already put their names down for the Vuelta a España later this month. Froome has indicated that he could throw his hat into the ring but is yet to make a concrete decision.
“It’s difficult to say, I’ve only just finished the Tour de France. It would be really tough to do another Grand Tour but I will give it some thoughts over the next few weeks.”