Chris Froome reveals that he has been seeking the advice of cycling legend Eddy Merckx – on how to become a multiple Tour de France champion riding "clean".
Merckx is generally considered the greatest professional cyclist of all time, having won the Tour and Giro d’Italia on five occasions each, as well as the Vuelta a Espana once.
Speaking to the media, current Tour de France champion Froome, who spends most of his winter in the south of France or at Team Sky’s training camp in Majorca, said: "Eddy stays just down the road from me in Monaco and, having been out for a couple of meals with him, it’s been fascinating to be able to pick his brains about how he did it again and again.
"A lot of guys have struggled to back it up after winning the Tour. Basically, the last guy who was able to was Armstrong and we all now know what he was doing. So there’s a bad perception around multiple winning. I want to try to change that."
Froome saw his Tour victory marred by claims that doping was still prevalent in the sport, a widely expected fallout from the Armstrong saga. But Froome was less understanding.
"That was a really special day for me," he said. "So to basically have the media try to take that glory away with the same questions I had already kept answering for two weeks – ‘How can you prove you’re clean?’ – felt really insulting. I felt it disintegrated all my hard work."
"I genuinely believe people want to stop talking about doping now. They want to have someone to believe in.
"I definitely feel a responsibility to show people the sport has changed. I understand why there are still a lot of critics, cynicism and doubters out there. Of course, no-one can actually know 100% if I’m clean or not, except me. And I know I am, that my results will stand the test of time.
"We can’t force people to believe, it’s going to take time. I know I have a big responsibility but it’s not hard to be clean and to be a champion. Doping has never ever crossed my mind. It’s not an option. I’d rather go and scrub factory floors for a living than cheat to get where I am."
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