LONDON (AFP) — Chris Froome’s father claims the newly-crowned Tour de France champion is the perfect personality to restore cycling’s battered reputation.
Froome, 28, became Britain’s second successive winner of the prestigious race when he crossed the finish line in Paris on Sunday, following Bradley Wiggins’ success 12 months earlier.
But with the Lance Armstrong doping scandal still fresh in the minds of many, Froome has had to fend off some awkward questions throughout the Tour on the subject of drug cheats, particularly after his victory on stage 15 on top of Mont Ventoux.
But the Kenya-born Sky rider has repeatedly spoken out against the use of drugs and Clive Froome believes his son could help convince doubters that cycling is entering a new clean era.
“I can remember sending him an SMS after the press conference after his victory on Mont Vontoux the next morning, saying I really couldn’t believe the extent to which, rather than congratulate him, the media there were pointing fingers and bringing up the issue again,” Froome senior told Sky Sports News on Monday.
“He’s been passionately opposed to the use of drugs ever since he was an adolescent. I think he really feels this year it could be a landmark for cycling.
“He’s felt pretty indignant about the aspersions cast in his direction and I think he feels that with so many young riders, young clean riders, achieving positions in this year’s Tour that it may be a turning point for cycling, which cycling so badly needs.
“And I think the cycling community will probably support him in that and continue to drive out those malevolent individuals who quietly on the side possibly still use drugs.”
Froome’s father also hopes his son’s success can have a positive effect on the sport in Africa.
The Tour champion spent his childhood learning to ride in Nairobi before moving to South Africa as a teenager.
And with South African Daryl Impey also enjoying success in the early stages of this year’s Tour, Froome senior expects a surge of interest in the sport in Africa.
“I do, I really do [think it will help African cycling],” he said.
“And I think that rather than just making gestures in that direction, Chris will get actively involved in that direction to see that happens.
“Certainly I don’t think South African cycling needs much encouragement. I think this is a huge Tour for them, and for Impey to go into yellow first and for Chris to take it on from there means a lot to South African cycling.
“And I think the sport is bound to take impetus from that.”