Controversial British cyclist Chris Froome should not be considered one of the sport’s greats because his career is tainted with allegations of doping, says a past legend.
Froome became the third rider to win a hat-trick of wins in Europe’s cycling grand tour representing Team Sky.
He joined Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault in the sport’s hall of fame.
But Hinault claims he should not have started the Giro d’Italia, which he won convincingly last week.
“Froome does not belong on that list,” the French legend said.
Hinault argues Froome is part of a scandal
“He should never have been allowed to start in the Giro. Why do we have to wait so long for a verdict? With what right does Froome get so much time to find an explanation? Is it because Sky has so much money?
“This is all very sad. Froome is not part of the legend of the sport, because what image does he give cycling? He may also start the Tour later. It’s a real scandal. This has to stop.”
Froome denies the doping allegations – and if a ruling from cycling’s ruling body goes against him, he will not start the Tour de France in July.
He has already won the Tour four times – the latest win came last year – and now holds the Vuelta a España, which he also won in 2017.
Lawyers fight for reputation
The doping allegations revolve around a suspect sample he provided after the Spanish race last year.
Team Sky has hired a team of lawyers to fight the case for Froome and a decision is unlikely before the Tour de France starts.
‘It is disappointing that Bernard is so outspoken given he has his facts wrong,” said a Team Sky spokesman. “Chris has not had a positive test, rather an adverse analytical finding for a prescribed asthma medication. As an ex-rider himself, Bernard will appreciate the need for fairness for every athlete.
“And at the current time, Chris is entitled to race. This process would normally be confidential to protect the athlete and establish the facts. Unfortunately, it was leaked.”