Chris Froome says he should have taken some of the doping suspicion angled at him at the Tour de France as praise for his performance, but admits it was hard to face such vocal abuse.
Media, including former rider Laurent Jalabert on French television, questioned the plausibility of Froome’s performances after his power data from a stage of the 2013 Tour came to light.
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Froome vehemently denies the accusations but he and his Team Sky teammates suffered verbal and physical abuse along the route of the Tour and the Brit was forced to speak out a number of times.
“There are times I’ve come to think that I should take such suspicion as praise for my performance, but certainly I did not. I had to answer many questions about these issues when I was yellow,” he told Spanish newspaper AS.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating and I think in the Tour it was one of the hardest things that I had to face, but I got over it because I had nothing to hide.”
Watch the best bits of the 2015 Tour de France
While Richie Porte has departed to join BMC, Team Sky have found a replacement in Spaniard Michel Landa, who transfers from Astana
Froome believes the 25-year-old has the ability to lead Sky at big races like the Giro d’Italia, where Landa finished second this year, but says he might also form part of his team at the Tour de France in July.
“I’m sure he is qualified [to lead the team] and will have to take that role on many occasions [in the season]. Last year was confirmation to show what he can do in a very prestigious race,” he added.
“It’s a possibility [that he will ride the Tour], but there are many strong riders at Sky who could be in the Tour team. As for the other major races, it depends on many factors. If he’s in the line-up then of course he will be very important.”