ASPEN, Colo. (VN) — As Chris Froome (Sky) rode away with the Tour de France on Mont Ventoux, the breath of the cynics grew hotter, and worse.
He was dogged with doping questions the following day, and showed his frustration, however briefly.
But a month after a Tour de France in which he was dominant and rarely, if ever, in danger of losing his overall lead, he says those who doubted him were fair in doing so, and that this is the price he and others will pay moving forward.
“I do think those were questions that needed to be asked, post-Armstrong era. I don’t think the questions that were being asked were coming from necessarily a bad place,” Froome told VeloNews. “I think it was more the journalists feeling that they had an obligation to ask those questions, given the history of the sport, the revelations from USADA.
“But I almost got that feeling that yeah, it was basically just the journalists who felt the pressure that, OK, now it’s their job. They have to ask these questions not to appear naïve like they did in the past.”
Asked if there was ever a moment he felt close to snapping, he mentioned the day after strangling the GC on the Ventoux climb.
“The day after and basically being hounded about doping — that, obviously, that wasn’t the story I wanted to talk about that day. Unfortunately that’s the way it goes,” he said. “I was glad that I was able to just sorta take a deep breath and realize, ‘There’s a reason that people are asking questions, and that’s fair enough.’”
Froome is in Colorado at the USA Pro Challenge as a way to break back into racing after the Tour and tune-up for the races in Canada and, later, the UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy. The reigning Tour champ has displayed a constant evenness for the most part when blasted with doping questions.
“It really takes a lot to piss me off. You’ve really got to try hard to rattle me,” Froome said. “I think you’ve got to really try hard to stress me out. I don’t generally take too much to heart. I don’t generally dwell on the past much either. I just like to look forward and at what I’m doing right now.”
What he’s doing now is dealing with the post-Tour obligations, the madness that encircles winners.
“It’s been nonstop. It really was an eye-opener the difference to what it was, coming second in the Tour last year to winning it this year. It really was a big difference,” he said. “And I can’t say all the fame and all the rest — that’s not something I enjoy but I do understand that it comes with the yellow jersey, pretty much hand in hand. And I’m going to have to make some adjustments for sure with my lifestyle.”