“I want to back up my results for the next five years, at least, to prove that nothing was a fluke. My results will stand the test of time and I want to erase any doubt about them – that’s a massive motivation,” said Froome on the Team Sky website.
After years of being dogged by the bilharzia virus, Froome has quickly risen through ranks of professional cycling. Last year, he became the first African winner of the Tour’s yellow jersey. Since then, the question of doping has followed him around.
Froome accepts that fans will still have questions, but he hopes that he can continuing success can add credence to his status as a clean cyclist. “I want to back up everything I achieved last season and prove to people that I am a legitimate champion,” says Froome.
“Especially in this era of cycling, there’s so much doubt around what we’re doing and I sincerely want to prove to people they can believe in this sport again, believe in me, and believe in Team Sky. I hope last year’s not going to be a one-off for me because that would raise doubts.”
Froome has spent much of his off-season in South Africa, where the weather has allowed him to get some decent training in. However it took it’s toll too, with Froome getting some nasty sunburn on his back. The 2013 Tour de France champion spoke about the now infamous picture, posted on twitter.
“It’s like Australia here in that the sun is really powerful,” he said. “It’s something that’s very different to the European summer. In Europe the sun isn’t quite as strong, whereas here it burns you properly.
“People talked about that photo of my back, but I’d actually covered myself in SPF 30 that day. And okay, I’d done a seven-hour ride, but that was the end result.”
Next week marks the start of Froome’s season, at the Tour of Oman. The Sky rider beat Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans at the race last year. While neither of those riders are making the journey to Oman, Froome will still have to fend off the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and his former teammate Rigoberto Urán.
Despite arriving as the defending champion, the 28-year-old is feeling at ease. ““I wouldn’t say I have the same kind of pressure that I had last year for Oman,” he explained. “I’m a lot more relaxed coming into this season, but at the same time I feel just as eager and just as motivated to get stuck into the racing. I’m really looking forward to getting back into it.”