Lance Armstrong's comments about winning the Tour de France clean failed to go unnoticed yesterday when the 100th edition kicked off in Bastia. His interview with Le Monde about doping still gained attention while riders raced for the yellow jersey.
Chris Froome told France 2 TV that Sky proved cycling has changed since Armstrong's era.
"Things have changed since the Armstrong's time," Froome said in an interview filmed prior to the stage start. "Last year, Bradley Wiggins won I am sure without doping, without chemicals. We have shown that cycling has changed."
French daily, Le Monde spoke earlier with Armstrong for an interview it published yesterday.
"Was it possible to achieve performances without doping? It depends on the race you wanted win," Armstrong said. "The Tour de France? No. Impossible to win without doping because the Tour is an endurance test where oxygen is crucial."
Armstrong clarified afterwards in Twitter that he was only referring to the period up until 2005 and his seventh Tour win. "Today?" he wrote. "I have no idea. I'm hopeful it's possible."
"I understand," Froome replied to France 2 when asked if he realised that he would have to justify himself as a Tour winner.
"Unfortunately that is cycling, the history of cycling. That is a responsibility that I will find that I have to take in cycling at the moment."
Only a few hours later, nearly 200 cyclists raced into Bastia. German Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) won the stage and the yellow jersey ahead of several crashes. Journalists asked questions about the rough day, his Argos team, German cycling and Armstrong.
"I do think it's possible to win the Tour clean, and to win stages in the Tour clean," Kittel said in a press conference.
"Stages like today show it's possible, and that projects like my team show that in cycling there are a lot of people working on new ideas to make clean cycling. I'm proud of this win, as a sign that you can participate in the Tour and win in the Tour clean."
"Enough is enough!" read a statement from the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) on the eve of stage one.
"Today the limits of the bearable have been reached! We have for many years shown our will to work for a flawless fight against doping. If there was a culture of doping in the 1990s, in the past 15 years our sport has been fighting alone against the plague of doping."
The recent doping cases involving Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio, and the continuing Armstrong scandal show, however, that the "plague of doping" will be a continued subject.
Comment: Lance Armstrongversus Le Monde
Armstrong: 'Impossible to win Tour without doping' during his era
Tour de France 2013: Related links
Tour de France 2013: Who will win?
Tour de France 2013: The Big Preview
Tour de France 2013: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Tour de France 2013 team tracker
Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release wherever you are in the world with our iPad and iPhone edition - International digital edition (opens in new tab), UK digital edition (opens in new tab). And if you like us, rate us!
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Ethan Hayter seals overall victory at Tour of Poland
The win is Hayter's first on GC at WorldTour level, and his second overall senior victory
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Dylan Teuns moves mid-season to Israel-PremierTech
Belgian rider moves to new team from Bahrain Victorious in unusual mid-season transfer
By Tom Thewlis • Published