Much of the French press have run articles recently seamed with doubt as to whether Chris Froome‘s performances in the current Tour de France are really the result of prestigious talent, or whether he is in fact aided by performance enhancing drugs. In the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal, journalists have become much more aggressive about asking cyclists whether they have, or do, cycle under the influence of drugs. Froome has been largely accepting of these questions during the Tour, with the exception of one occasion after his ascension of Mont Ventoux, the ‘giant of Provence.’ He explained that it was the most important victory of his life, and that he didn’t appreciate being asked whether or not it was really legitimate.
It has been interesting to note that it has largely been former trainers or journalists that have been questioning Froome’s results. Many of his fellow cyclists, including his main rival at this Tour, Alberto Contador, have dismissed claims that he is doping. Contador, at a recent press conference reiterated his claim that ‘there was no reason to doubt Froome,’ and his super-human climbing skills. Contador said that Froome ‘could not be beaten’ this time round. However, Oleg Tinkov, one of Saxo Tinkoff’s sponsors, (also the team for which Alberto Contador rides) has not been able to reign in his disbelief in the past few days, saying he is ‘too old to believe in fairy tales,’ in regards to Froome not doping.
This is after Team Sky released Froome’s last two years of cycling data to the main French sports newspaper, l’Equipe. After their team analyzed it, they declared that Froome’s ‘biological passport’ was ‘perfectly smooth,’ and that they could detect no sign of illegal doping.
Besides this, newspapers have also concentrated on Froome’s personality, remarking on his exquisite politeness and steely determination to reach the top. Much has been made of the fact that he has risen quickly through the ranks, never having been known in his youth as a super-star cyclist, instead as some-one with an immense work ethic.
- Tour de France: Chris Froome hits back on doping questions, accusing critics of calling him ‘a cheat and a liar’ (metro.co.uk)