Tour leader Froome hits back at critics

Chris Froome plans to undergo independent physiological testing after the Tour de France in an effort to counter allegations made by critics of his performances.

A child high-fives with the four jerseys Australia's Richie Porte, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, Britain's Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, Germany's Andre Greipel, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, and Colombia's Nairo Quintana, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, prior to the start of the eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 188 kilometers (116.8 miles) with start in Pau and finish in Cauterets, France. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

An explosive display saw Froome distance his rivals for Tour victory on Tuesday, extending his advantage over nearest rival Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) from 12 seconds to almost three minutes, a margin which many believe to be insurmountable by the race’s finish on July 26 in Paris.

The 30-year-old Team Sky leader’s fifth stage victory of his career on stage 10 to La Pierre-Saint-Martin was followed by an inquisition as the cycling public is sceptical after years of drug cheats winning the Tour.

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Froome faced innuendo and allegations over his performances in winning the 2013 Tour and the result gave his critics further ammunition, although Froome has always denied doping and wonders what more he can do to prove he is racing clean.

The detractors use power data to justify their argument, but Froome says that is “nuts” as it does not account for many variables.

Froome plans to allow independent doctors and assorted experts to examine him between the Tour’s finish and the year’s third Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, which begins on August 22, to determine what makes him such an exceptional athlete.

“What haven’t I done? I’ve tried to be as much as a spokesman as I can for clean cycling,” Froome said.

“I’ve spoken to the CIRC (Cycling Independent Reform Condition), I’ve made suggestions to the governing body to implement things like night-time testing.

“I’ve pointed out when I’ve felt there hasn’t been enough testing, in places like Tenerife.

“What else is a clean rider supposed to do?”

Froome was composed in answering, but he understands why the line of questioning was employed.

“It doesn’t make me angry,” Froome added.

“It would be a different story if I had something to hide. I know I’m a clean rider.

“I know I’ve worked extremely hard to be in this position. I’m really proud of that.

“I do understand where the questions are coming from, the history of the sport and the people before me who have won the Tour.

“I am sympathetic, but at the same time there needs to be a certain level of respect also.

“I’ve worked extremely hard to get here. I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me.”

Van Garderen is two minutes 52 seconds behind in second place, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is now third, 3mins 09secs adrift, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) fourth, 4:01 behind and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) fifth, 4:03 back.

Wednesday’s 188km 11th stage is the second in the Pyrenees, from Pau to Cauterets.