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Chris Froome is happy to shrug off the criticism

By Matt McGeehan

Tour de France leader Chris Froome has had to combat claims of doping, motorised bikes, spectator assaults and attacks from his rivals on the road, but says he would not swap his position in the yellow jersey.

The 30-year-old Team Sky leader has two days in the Alps to survive to claim a second Tour title after his win in 2013 and exit following three crashes in two days 12 months ago.

"I've been attacked from every angle in this Tour," said Froome, who maintained his lead of three minutes 10 seconds from Nairo Quintana (Movistar) after yesterday's 18th stage.

"(But) I definitely do not hate being in this position. Last year I was sitting at home watching this race on TV with a broken hand and a broken wrist.

"There's absolutely no way I'd change anything right now. This is the dream for me."

Froome finished the 186.5km stage from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in 12th place, 3mins 02secs behind stage winner Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).

The top of the general classification was unchanged ahead of two stages which finish at the summits of La Toussuire and Alpe-d'Huez.

"I hope we can finish the job now," added Froome, before facing fresh questions from a media sceptical as a result of cycling's drug-riddled past.

Froome was asked about his relationship with Dr Stephane Bermon, who works at the Monaco Institute of Sport, in relation to Team Sky's medical policy. There is no suggestion of improper behaviour from either man.

"We (Team Sky) use the Monaco Institute of Sport," said Froome, confirming he had undergone pulmonary function tests, to measure how well his lungs work, under Dr Bermon's supervision.

The UCI, cycling's world governing body, has also screened for motors in bikes in the past few years and Froome's was one of six bikes checked after the stage.

"Most of the suspicions are all in social media and online," Froome said.

"The technology exists. I'm happy they're doing the checks."

Belfast Telegraph


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