Chris Froome said he deserves more “respect” after fielding a barrage of questions about doping following his latest scintillating Tour de France victory.
But the Team Sky leader complained that he doesn’t know what to do to silence the doubters accusing him of cheating.
The 2013 Tour de France champion stamped his authority on this year’s race with another dominant victory on Tuesday’s 10th stage summit finish in the Pyrenees.
But once again many looked on incredulously at yet another sensational performance.
“What haven’t I done? I’ve tried to be as much of a spokesman as I can for clean cycling,” said the 30-year-old Briton.
“I’ve spoken to CIRC (Cycling Independent Reform Commission — a body tasked with investigating doping), I’ve made suggestions to the governing bodies such as night-time testing; I’ve spoken out when I thought, such as in Tenerife, that there isn’t enough testing.
“What else is a clean rider supposed to do?”
Froome had to face the same accusations after two dominant performances during his 2013 Tour victory when he rode off into the distance on the Ax 3 Domaines and Mont Ventoux summit finishes.
Back then he complained to the media that they were spoiling the greatest victories of his career.
But he says he’s not letting the bad press get to him.
“It’s not difficult for me to stay cool; it would be a different story if I had something to hide,” said the Kenyan-born athlete.
“I know I’m a clean rider, I’ve worked extremely hard to be in this position and I’m very proud of that.
“It doesn’t make me angry, I know where the questions are coming from, I know the history of the Tour and the people that have gone before me.
“But at the same time there needs to be a level of respect. I’ve worked extremely hard to be here and I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me.”
Froome had awoken to the news that Sky believe their computers had been hacked and his training data stolen.
His team manager Dave Brailsford speculated that it had been done to try to prove Froome is using doping substances.
But the Tour yellow jersey wearer said it would be a futile effort.
“That’s nuts, especially seeing as the data in question is over two years old anyway.
“We’re focused on the race and nothing’s going to deter us from that; we’ve got a job to do here and that starts for (Wednesday’s) stage.” – Agence France-Presse