‘I am no cheat’
Avignon, 15 July
Tour de France leader Chris Froome on Monday hit out at critics who believe he could be following in the footsteps of shamed drugs cheat Lance Armstrong after his stunning win on Mont Ventoux.
“To compare me with Lance… Lance cheated, I’m not cheating. End of story,” the British rider said on the race’s second and final rest day on Monday.
Froome reinforced his grip on the race leader’s yellow jersey, with an impressive win on the fabled climb on Sunday to claim his second mountaintop stage victory of this year’s 100th edition.
But the Kenyan-born Briton’s performance, which featured several short but remarkable attacks on the 20.8 km climb to the summit, raised suspicions.
It also prompted comparisons with Armstrong, who saw his record seven Tour titles removed for doping.
Froome, who now leads Dutchman Bauke Mollema by 4min 14sec and former two-time winner Alberto Contador of Spain by 4:25, has claimed since the start of the race that he is “100 percent clean” and that his titles would never be stripped in the future.
The 28-year-old reiterated those claims at his team hotel in Avignon on Monday.
Froome also indicated he has had enough of being made to feel he is a cheat.
“I just think it’s quite sad that we’re sitting here the day after the biggest victory of my life talking about doping,” Froome said.
“Quite frankly… my teammates and I have spent months away from home, slept (at high altitude) on volcanoes to get ready for this race… training together, just working our arses off.
“And here I am, sitting here being accused of being a cheat and a liar. That’s just not cool.”