Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Froome booed and whistled at Tour presentation

Froome booed and whistled at Tour presentation

There was no sense of triumphalism from Chris Froome as he faced the Tour de France media two days after the anti-doping investigation into him was dropped.

With the latest edition beginning on Saturday, five days after the International Cycling Union finally ruled Froome had won last year's Spanish Vuelta cleanly, the four-time Tour victor offered an alternative way for skeptical fans to show their distrust.

The Team Sky rider admitted the whole affair had damaged his reputation but said he was happy to be vindicated after insisting since details of the case were leaked in December that he has done nothing wrong.

"I just raced the Giro in May with the Salbutamol thing hanging over me, and nothing happened there", Froome added.

With the anti-doping investigation behind him, if perhaps not all of its ramifications, Froome's next challenge is trying to become the first man to do a Giro-Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998 - a mission that begins with stage one from Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile to Fontenay-le-Comte on Saturday.

Froome said that he had been cleared of wrongdoing "after nine months of meticulous analysis" of the so-called adverse analytical finding (AAF).

"I think this year's race is going to be the biggest challenge of my career", he said.

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Tour organisers ASO had banned Froome from the race but the World Anti Doping Agency and the International Cycling Union delivered a long-awaited verdict on a September 2017 test of the Briton that cleared his name. "Of course it has been damaging".

"Now I just want to draw a line in the sand and move on", said the four-time champion, who won the Giro d'Italia in May.

"(Froome) has the right to operate in a safe environment.

"Doing the Tour de France and the Vuelta (a Espana) a year ago taught me an unbelievable amount about how to manage my training".

That was despite French rider Romain Bardet calling for fans to show Froome and Sky respect.

Thomas, however, said possible run-ins with the public are part of riding down roads lined by people, most of who are there to cheer on the athletes. "So there is that element of risk so to speak".

Froome is aiming to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as the only riders to win the Tour five times.

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