Chris Froome has confirmed that data of physiological testing he performed in the summer will be released. The 2015 Tour de France winner again came under intense scrutiny during the Tour de France about his performance in July but reiterated that he does not have "any skeletons in the closet".
Froome was speaking while in Japan for the Saitama Criterium. He went on to finish third, behind John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing).
Froome interrupted his off-season to compete at the Saitama Criterium. Froome, as the Tour de France winner, was the star attraction in Saitama as the riders were bussed around the Japanese Prefecture for various activities. It was a relaxed, albeit tired, Froome who sat down with a handful of journalists on the morning of the race. The atmosphere was a far cry from the often intensified environment that surrounded his yellow jersey press conferences at the Tour de France. It was during those press conferences that Froome first broached the idea of undergoing independent physiological testing.
Days before the Vuelta a Espana, the GSK Human Performance Lab posted photos of Froome taking part in some tests, the results of which Froome says will be out soon.
"The results will be published not long from now, before the end of the year the results of that will be published," Froome said. "It's certainly not about necessarily proving anything, it's more about understanding, but again you'll have to wait for that and draw from it what you want."
The scrutiny Froome endured during his second Tour de France win was a topic of lengthy discussion during the summer. Earlier this week, Froome's team principal Dave Brailsford said that the 'French attitude' would make winning another Tour title harder for Froome.
Froome agreed with Brailsford but said that he would just have to 'get on with it.'
"I definitely felt this year that it was an element that made this year's Tour de France harder. Anyone who is human would have felt more under pressure with what was going on this year," he said. "It's unfortunate that's what the yellow jersey wearer of the Tour de France has to put up with."
"For me, I think, when I'm in that position, if I had something to hide or I had some elaborate scheme going on then it would really bother me, it would be my whole world crashing down. But I don't have any skeletons in the closet; I don't have anything to genuinely be afraid of. Yes it's frustrating but you just have to get on with the racing and get through it."
A third Tour de France and becoming a dad
It's no secret that Froome will be targeting the Tour de France in 2016 as he looks to become the first rider since Miguel Indurain in 1995 to claim wins in consecutive years – taking into account the Tours removed from the palmarès of Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. He will have some different teammates around him as he tries to complete the feat after Team Sky bolstered their line-up with some key signings this winter.
One rider that won't be with him is his loyal lieutenant Richie Porte, who will be riding for rivals BMC next season. The two have become close friends during their four seasons together on the same team and Froome is looking forward to going up against him in the Grand Tours.
"It's definitely sad to see Richie go, of course he's been a massive part of everything, both Tours de France that I've won up until now. He's going to have some of his own opportunities next year and it will probably be good fun racing against him," Froome said.
"I do think we've got a really, really decent line up for next year. Some of the guys who have come in are also top notch riders, guys like Mikel Landa, (Beñat) Intxausti, all potentially GC riders in their own right, (Michal) Kwiatkowski, an ex-world champion. I can imagine for management to choose a Tour de France team it's going to be close on impossible with all those names."
With Bradley Wiggins moving away from stage racing and then leaving the team, Froome has been the undoubted team leader for the past two seasons. However, with the introduction of some strong general classification riders and the improvement of riders such as Geraint Thomas, he knows that he's got a fight on his hands to retain that spot in future.
"I've got to keep improving. Every year I'm learning more and more and I've got to keep bettering myself certainly," he explained. "The way G [ed. Geraint] rode last year, he definitely needs to be more protected next season and have a go at the GC himself. It's something that's continuous and maybe in a way we'll push each other a little bit and maybe get a bit more out of ourselves and improve."
Bike racing will be far from Froome's mind in the next few weeks as his wife Michelle is due to give birth to their first child, something that will no doubt alter his perspective on racing.
"I'm sure it's going to be life-changing having a little one around. For all the sleepless nights I'm sure there will be a whole load of positives to it, so I'm looking forward to it," he said.
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