Chris Froome and sections of the British media have followed up on Laurent Jalabert's comments, which they say insinuate that the Team Sky rider might be doping. Jalabert, who does commentary on French television for the Tour de France, denied the remarks, which had however been broadcast on radio and television.
After stage 10, Jalabert said on RTL Radio: “It’s surreal to see just how superior Froome is, with that super astonishing style, turning the legs at a phenomenal rate on gradients touching 15%. We all saw them explode one after the other, like popcorn, with time losses verging on the ridiculous in some cases. Nibali, the defending champion, lost more than four minutes.”
On Sunday, ITV’s Matt Rendell caught Jalabert before the race to ask about those comments. Jalabert said he had no comments to make.
When Rendell said that he had made “some pretty strong insinuations”, the Frenchman replied, “No, it’s not true. It’s the press that’s trying to stir things up. .... I haven’t said that: ‘verging on the ridiculous’. I’ve never said that.”
After repeating that he had no comments on Froome, Jalabert walked away when Rendell accused him of not being “entirely transparent on the subject of your doping.”
Jalabert also stated on television that, “we now know that Froome is by far the strongest. He’s on another planet, even. There is Froome and then everyone else.”
The “another planet” phrase is closely associated with L’Equipe’s accusations against Lance Armstrong for doping.
Upon hearing Jalabert’s denial of having made the statements, Froome tweeted, “@JalabertLaurent if you’re going to deny making statements about me maybe you should remember that you’re being recorded on Live TV/Radio"
Jalabert, now 46, has never confirmed or denied having doped during his 13-year career, although he acknowledged that while riding for ONCE, he was “taken care of” by the team doctors, without asking what they were doing. In addition, retroactive testing showed that his doping samples from the 1998 Tour contained EPO.