Chris Froome, recently linked in the French press with a move to BMC Racing, has said he is set to sign a new deal with Team Sky that would keep him at the British UCI WorldTour outfit until 2021.
The 32-year-old also said he had complete trust in the team, which in recent months has been caught up in controversy over the Jiffy Bag containing medicine destined for Sir Bradley Wiggins couriered to the Criterium du Dauphiné in 2011.
Froome, who is seeking his fourth Tour de France victory in five years, has in the past had to run the gauntlet of fans at the roadside in France, including having urine thrown at him.
He has also had his performances questioned in the French media by pundits including former pro cyclist Laurent Jalabert, but said he understood why such suspicions were raised.
“Certainly I've learned to grow a thicker skin over the years and I understand where it's coming from given cycling's history,” he said at Team Sky’s press conference yesterday evening in Dusseldorf, which hosts the Grand Depart of the 104th edition of the race this weekend.
“It's not something I take personally any more, I don't take those questions and feel it's an attack on me personally but more just a reflection of what has happened in the sport,” Froome continued.
“I do sympathise with people who have had their doubts because I've had my doubts as well about performances post the early 2000s. I can see where those questions are coming from.
“I think for me personally I'm just going to have to show over time that my results are going to stand. I can rest assured that they are but it might take other people a bit longer.”
Referring to the questions raised about Team Sky’s anti-doping stance as a result of issues such as the medical package delivered to Wiggins, he said: “I don't have any trust issues. I can't make it any more plain.”
For his own part, he said: “I'd like to think that trust hasn't been lost in regards to me personally and my performances, there is no restoration needed there.”
He acknowledged however that the sport still had to win people’s trust given this week’s revelation that Andre Cardoso, who was due to play a key supporting role to Trek Segafredo’s Alberto Contador, had been provisionally suspended after testing positive for EPO.
“It's difficult, we just had a positive yesterday, a positive test, which is a really, really big disappointment to see in this day and age,” Froome said.
“I still believe cycling has done so much more than other sports but if you look at it on the other hand, at least this guy was caught, it means the testing system is working.
"Anyone who does break the rules isn't going to fall through the cracks,” he added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.