Chris Froome, who is currently now thinking if he will compete at the Vuelta a Espana, explained he would have liked to attack in the Tour de France's final mountain stages in the Alps, but he could not because of illness.
"Part of me thought that I might be able to get to the Alps and still do some more damage at that point", he explained according to Skysports. "But unfortunately on the second rest day [after stage 16],I started to come down with a bit of a chesty cough. I have got asthma and my airways were closing up a little bit. I won’t lie, the last few days, I have really been battling, just hanging on. I have basically just been looking at that three minute advantage that I have had and thinking, ‘Right, I’m just going to defend that the best I can now’."
For many fans, Froome’s performances are so good that they must be too good to be true. The leader of Team Sky said one spectator even hurled a cup of urine at him, shouting, "Doper!". In short, Froome finds himself in the impossible position of being damned by his own success. No matter how many times he insists that he is clean, the words fall on deaf ears. As they would: After all, Armstrong used to say that, too.
Froome understands that. He knows that the yellow jersey he wears has been so soiled by the deceit of those who wore it before him that some of that dirt, deservedly or not, will rub off on him, too. "It is a lot to take on it is a lot to process from my point of view. I feel as if nothing has really changed; I’m still the same guy who just enjoys riding his bike every day."
"But, of course, I’m in this position now where, especially the cycling of 2015, where we need people to be spokesmen for the sport, especially given the position I’m in, in the yellow jersey, I think I do have quite a responsibility on my shoulders to fill that role." The Team Sky leader added: "It is difficult. I take a lot of criticism, I put up with a lot, but to be honest, it is a lot easier when of course I know I have nothing to hide. It’s a no-brainer for me: I have got nothing really to stress about and I think that’s probably been one of the reasons why I have been able to put up with so much along the way."
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