MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has said he warned authorities about possible mechanical doping in cycling and wants them to intensify bike checks to catch offenders.
After decades of struggling to combat illegal drug use, cycling’s image suffered a fresh blow on Sunday when stewards at the world cyclo-cross championships found an electric motor in Belgian teenager Femke Van den Driessche’s bike.
Den Driessche has maintained her innocence since the discovery but Briton Froome said he had heard whispers about mechanical doping before and shared them with the International Cycling Union (UCI).
“It’s a concern that I’ve had, something I’ve brought up with the UCI independent commission when I sat down with them and said, ‘listen, from my point of view there are these rumors, it would be my advice that the UCI implements controls and measure to start checking bikes more regularly’,” Froome told reporters on Tuesday.
The UCI has promised to step up testing for motorized doping and Froome welcomed the decision.
“I think they are taking the threat seriously and hopefully this will mean that they only increase the number of checks that they do on the world tour level,” the Team Sky rider added.
On a personal level, the Kenya-born rider said he was happy to make his physiological data public to quash constant speculation about his improved performances in the last few years.
“I’ve been really happy with how that all turned out,” the 30-year-old Froome said ahead of the Herald Sun Tour in Victoria starting on Wednesday.
”I mean, people were asking for my data and, knowing that I have nothing to hide, obviously I went and did the tests and offered that data up publicly to everyone and I‘m really happy how that went down.
“I mean, not to say that every athlete should do the same thing but it’s everyone’s personal prerogative if they want to do the same or not.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien