Columnists 23.7.2015 02:00 pm

Cynics and chamber pots aimed at Froome

I have to agree with Chris Froome it is, well, piss poor of a roadside spectator to douse him in urine in the midst of the new spate of doping allegations levelled against the Briton and his Sky team-mates.

Not for a second am I condoning the erratic fan’s actions, but I do get where the guy – who reportedly shouted “doper” during the urine shower – is coming from. Doping has harmed cycling so badly, for so long, that every time there is the tiniest hint of cheating – whether it is accurate or not is besides the point – people like the outraged spectator will react strongly.

He is part of the choir that believe the sport is still much tainted, despite all the antidoping systems put into place since the fall of Lance Armstrong.

Again, it is the French media at the forefront of the fresh clouds gathering over Froome’s head. The same questions where asked when he won the Tour de France in 2013 and the same people’s questions also made his former team-mate, Bradley Wiggins, curse like a drunken sailor en route to his historic win in 2012.

We must remember that these persistent Frenchmen are the same people who played a leading role in Armstrong’s eventual exposure.

Armstrong declared his innocence throughout his career and used examples of hundreds of negative dope tests to prove his case. But without concrete proof, his detractors stood by their beliefs that he was a dope cheat and, like bulldogs, they refused to let go during Armstrong’s seven-year dominance of the world’s most famous cycling race.

They finally had their day many years later when the pressure led to the Texan’s well-documented confession to Oprah Winfrey.

After all this time, it is easy to look back at his almost unreal dominance and think: how could we not have known? Especially taking into account that at the time he was at his peak, drugs were apparently as common as energy bars and water bottles.

What doesn’t help Froome one little bit is the margin by which he obliterated his rivals during his epic win during stage 10 up the La Pierre Saint-Martin a week ago. Had he taken only seconds instead of minutes off the likes of Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen and Alberto Contador, far less suspicion would have been raised.

Performances like these by far outweigh his constant declarations he is clean rider amidst the paranoia of those who want to believe he is a modern-day Armstrong. Sky’s defence that Froome’s power output was normal, as opposed to claims from French television that it wasn’t, was like taking a knife to a gun fight.

The suspicious-minded urine-throwers were given a bone during stage 10.

They hope to eventually feast on it and Team Sky is adamant they will choke.

Only time will tell which one it will be.

Follow @jacovanderm on Twitter

 

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