|Chris Froome was all smiles for the camera as he lined up on the start. |
2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome has revealed that he testified before the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) about the current situation in the sport. The CIRC was formed after the election of UCI president Brian Cookson to investigate how doping had become so endemic to the sport in the 1990s and 2000s, and to determine what role the UCI played in the evolution of the doping culture.
"I sat down with CIRC after the end of the season last year and spent a good few hours with them, just talking about the state of the sport and how, from a rider’s point of view, they can try to improve on things," Froome told The Daily Mail. "I think the sport is definitely making a lot of headway in trying to improve its image and and putting the past behind us."
Froome's rival for this year's Tour is defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, but his Astana team is facing a possible revocation of its WorldTour licence and it remains to be seen how the team's situation, which arose out of the EPO positives of brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy last year, will affect the Tour.
"What I take a lot of confidence from is the fact that these guys are getting caught," Froome said. "It means the testing is working, which is obviously what you want. It’s not comforting to know that you are racing against guys who are breaking the rules. But if they are getting caught then at least you know the system is working.’
Froome said he feels the sport has improved from the situation voiced by riders such as Lance Armstrong, who claim they had no other choice but to dope or quit the sport.
"I’m grateful it’s not a choice I have to make," Froome said."‘I hate how it was for young riders coming into the sport back in his day. I’m very grateful it’s not like that anymore."
The case of the Iglinskiy brothers shows that doping is still happening, however, but Froome said it is not something he thinks about while racing.
"You can’t be going to the start line looking at the guys next to you and wondering whether you’re racing against something who is turbo charged," Froome said. "If you do you’ve probably lost the race before you’ ve even started. It’s not even a factor in my mind on that start line. I’m just racing whoever is there and I’ve got to think we are all on an even playing field or it’s game over for me before the race has even started. We have to rely on the UCI to keep our sport clean and run it in the right way. We have to put all our trust in them."