LONDON (Reuters) - Chris Froome believes he can win five more Tours de France, making him a seven-time champion and the most successful rider in the history of cycling’s greatest race.
The Briton, who celebrated his second Tour triumph last month, told the BBC he sees no reason why he cannot go past five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
American Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven victories for drug use but Froome said: “I want to be a spokesman for clean cycling”.
Asked if he felt he could win five more times, Froome said: ”Why not? I‘m 30, other riders have won Tours into their late 30s, potentially I’ve got another eight or nine years left.
“I’d love to keep racing until my late 30s, for as long as my body will allow me to. I’d like to think I could go back again for the foreseeable future, four or five years at least.”
Talking about his latest win with Team Sky as he prepares to tackle a rare Grand Tour double in the Vuelta a Espana later this month, Froome said: ”I don’t think any sportsman should have to go through what we went through.
”I mean urine thrown at you, Richie Porte was punched, I was spat on by spectators. I don’t believe that should happen.
“I’d love to have a conversation with these people and say to them: ‘What’s the issue here? Because I know there is nothing untoward about what I’ve done to get here’.”
Asked if he felt he could eventually win over those who still question whether he won as a clean rider, Froome said: ”That’s not my goal as such but I do want to be a spokesman for clean cycling.
”I believe somebody has to stand up for the current generation. I‘m happy to do that.
“I‘m happy to release more information when I can and to show people they can trust these performances. Because from my point of view, if I can win the Tour de France clean then you can win any bike race clean.”
Talking about the prospect of becoming a father for the first time later this year, he said: ”I’ve got a little boy coming and I can’t wait. It’s going to be the biggest thing that has happened to me in my life so far.
“Bigger than any Tour de France win.”
Writing by Ian Chadband, editing by Tony Jimenez