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LeMond: There can be spectacular performances without doping

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Greg LeMond on the podium with stage 15 winner Chris Froome (Sky) on Mont Ventoux

Greg LeMond on the podium with stage 15 winner Chris Froome (Sky) on Mont Ventoux
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Greg Lemond after winning the 1990 Tour de France.

Greg Lemond after winning the 1990 Tour de France.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Always the early adopter of new technology, Greg LeMond is shown here with an aero-shaped helmet during the 1986 Tour de France time trial in Saint-Etienne.

Always the early adopter of new technology, Greg LeMond is shown here with an aero-shaped helmet during the 1986 Tour de France time trial in Saint-Etienne.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Chris Froome puts the rev meter into red on Mont Ventoux

Chris Froome puts the rev meter into red on Mont Ventoux
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinaul on l'Alpe d'Huez in 1986

Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinaul on l'Alpe d'Huez in 1986
(Image credit: AFP Photo)

Three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond was on hand on Mont Ventoux to witness the feats of Chris Froome (Sky), the American telling French television that he believes Sunday's stage winner has the centenary edition of the locked up.

LeMond, who was on the podium for the stage 15 presentation, told RMC Sport that only a serious crash could derail Froome's chances of standing on the podium in Paris in a week's time.

"He is very strong," the American said. "He can still have a bad day, but I don't believe he will. In 1986, during my first victory on the Tour I never had bad days… Now with more than four minutes on Bauke Mollema, Chris Froome is in the perfect position to win the Tour."

Froome blitzed his rivals over the 21km climb, gradually distancing any threats with a seated high tempo and then finally out of the saddle to ensure victory over Nairo Quintana (Movistar). It was a showing which was again the source of much online speculation over the validity of the Kenyan-born Brit's performance, with Froome and Sky once again reiterating that natural ability was the source of such dominance.

LeMond was supportive of Froome, but noted he had a "weird position" on the bike

"There is a difference between a climber like Hinault for example, and Froome speeding away like that," the 52-year-old explained. "People look at technology now, wattage, VO2max and nobody is equal physically. You can't compare it to before. I don't like it when people ask me questions like that and I want to believe in what I'm seeing. There can be spectacular performances without doping."

Sky's apparent fragility, with the team now relying on six teammates for Froome for the remainder of the Tour with Edvald Boasson Hagen out with a broken scapula on stage 12 and Vasili Kiryienka lost due to the time cut on stage 10, was quashed on Sunday with Peter Kennaugh and Richie Porte putting the hammer down on the climb to Ventoux. For LeMond, it was a performance that was reminiscent of the Renault-Elf team that he rode with between 1981 and 1984.

"You can't forget this is a team competition and this is a great team," he said. "On the Tour in 1984, with Cyrille Guimard who was for me the best athletic director at the time, the team won 10 stages. Laurent Fignon won the Tour and I finished third. Sky reminds me of my old Renault-Elf team."