Cauterets - Tour de France leader Chris Froome has challenged his detractors
to prove he has been doping before making unsubstantiated accusations against
The 30-year-old has had to put up with a barrage of questions about doping
since a stunning victory on the Tour's 10th stage on Tuesday, when he decimated
his rivals to open up an almost three-minute lead over the rest of the field.
With several other mountain stages still to come, some people believe Froome
could end up winning this year's race by a landslide.
It means he's had to fend off questions about his legitimacy while 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," said a defiant Froome 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
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 per minute despite him accelerating away from his
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," said the Kenyan-born rider.
"After two weeks of the Tour on Ventoux it's quite surprising it's 160,
it's normally a bit lower than that.
"That's normal, two weeks into a Grand Tour, 10 beats off my maximum
when I'm going as hard as I can -- for me anyway."
Sky manager Dave Brailsford has been at pains to try to demonstrate that his
team is clean but, like Froome, he said the suspicions were to be expected.
"I think with the past we've had in cycling, it's reasonable," he
"My job is to be here, be open, speak to everyone, take responsibility.
"We're a team trying to be at the front of everything (anti-)doping.
"It's normal that people ask questions, my job is to be here, be open
and answer those questions."
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
Tony Gallopin, a Frenchman not noted for his climbing ability, and Adam
Yates, a 22-year-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.
It was perhaps exacerbated amongst the locals by French hopes
Jean-Christophe Peraud, Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet - second, third and
sixth respectively last year - losing between five-and-a-half and ten minutes.
"The surprise was the performance of the others, which wasn't to the
level we expected," said Brailsford.
"It's true Chris had a good day but the others weren't really on top
And in a pointed remark to French accusers, he added: "The big
performance (on Tuesday) was Gallopin coming seventh (actually ninth, he's
"He had a great performance, or young Adam Yates did great (finishing
seventh). We didn't see a great Contador or Nibali but (Nairo) Quintana was ok,
if not brilliant."
Quintana finished just over a minute behind Froome to leave him third
overall at 3min 09sec - maybe be leave he is the only rider with any chance of
denying Froome a second Tour crown.