CHRIS FROOME admitted he understands where sceptics are coming from as he reiterated his full trust in Team Sky ahead of the Tour de France.
The three-time Tour winner and his team faced the media in Dusseldorf on Wednesday evening ahead of Saturday’s opening stage, and there were plenty of questions relating to the ongoing UK Anti-Doping investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Team Sky.
Such questions have dogged the team since September, when the Fancy Bears hackers revealed that 2012 Tour winner Sir Bradley Wiggins had received Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) ahead of each of his major races in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The team have also faced questions over the contents of a medical delivery to the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 – a race won by Wiggins – with Wiggins, team principal Sir Dave Brailsford and Team Sky all denying any wrongdoing.
Those topics were revisited in Dusseldorf, but Froome refused to be rattled.
“Certainly I’ve learned to grow a thicker skin over the years and I understand where it’s coming from given cycling’s history,” he said.
I’ve been here since the beginning and I’ve never seen anything untoward. I don’t have any trust issues.Team Sky’s Chris Froome
“It’s not something I take personally any more, I don’t take those questions and feel it’s an attack on me personally but more just a reflection of what has happened in the sport.
“I do sympathise with people who have had their doubts because I’ve had my doubts as well about performances post the early 2000s. I can see where those questions are coming from.
“I think for me personally I’m just going to have to show over time that my results are going to stand. I can rest assured that they are but it might take other people a bit longer.”
Brailsford responded to the questions by saying he remained proud of everything the team – who have won four of the past five Tours – have achieved.
“I’ve been involved in this sport a very long time,” he said. “I’m proud of British Cycling, I’m proud of Team Sky, I’m proud of these guys and I’m proud of the way we have tried to do everything in the right way.”
Froome, who joined Team Sky from their inception in 2010, said he had never seen any evidence of wrongdoing within the team.
“I’ve been here since the beginning and I’ve never seen anything untoward,” he said. “I don’t have any trust issues. I can’t make it any more plain.”
Froome is ready to back up those words by signing a new contract with the team, extending his commitment until 2021.