I’m no drug cheat
TOUR de France leader Chris Froome has challenged his detractors to prove he has been doping before making unsubstantiated accusations.
Froome has had to cope with a barrage of questions about doping since a stunning win on the Tour’s 10th stage on Tuesday, when he opened up an almost three-minute lead over the rest of the field.
With other mountain stages to come, some people believe Froome could end up winning by a landslide.
While fending off questions about his legitimacy someone allegedly hacked his Sky team’s computers and stole some training data which was then published on the internet.
“Those people should come and see us train, see how hard we work and see how I live my life,” a defiant Froome said following Wednesday’s 11th stage, in which he maintained his lead.
“Then tell me I’m not clean!”
He added: “People should have some proof before they start making accusations.”
A video of Froome’s famous victory on Mont Ventoux during his 2013 Tour-winning year was published on the internet showing that his heart-rate remained stable at 160 beats a minute despite him accelerating away from his rivals.
Many people reacted incredulously to that, believing it to be impossible.
But Froome dismissed any such concerns.
“I’ve put that data out there myself in my book. I said my maximum heart-rate is only 170,” the Kenyan-born rider said. “After two weeks of the Tour on Ventoux it’s quite surprising it’s 160, it’s normally a bit lower than that.”
Sky manager Dave Brailsford said the suspicions were to be expected.
“I think with the past we’ve had in cycling, it’s reasonable,” he said.
Brailsford also pointed out that the gaps between Froome and some lesser lights on Tuesday’s stage were nothing to be alarmed about, quite the opposite in fact.
Tony Gallopin, a Frenchman not noted for his climbing ability, and Adam Yates, a 22year-old Briton riding his first Tour de France, both finished just two minutes behind Froome.
But because the likes of reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali and two-time former winner Alberto Contador lost 4min 25sec and 2min 51sec respectively, tongues started wagging.
In Wednesday’s 188km 11th stage, Poland’s Rafal Majka took the honours after a solo breakaway in the Pyrenees.