I do not always agree or support the sporting press. Particularly in football I find them too ready to report incident rather than analyse, too self important and pompous in positioning themselves as an interface between fan and the game. However in my sport, which has been so besmirched by doping as to lose all its integrity, I am pleased that Chris Froome and SKY are under the microscope after his performances which are notable for their strength and power.
Sir Dave Brailsford has become distinctly tetchy with the media though to be fair in releasing data commendably transparent too. The cycling media were complicit in the doping scandals and Davud Walsh of The Sunday Times can only be esteemed for the courageous way he took on Armstrong when others cowered. To restore credibility and to be of attraction to sponsors cycling has to be clean and Froome’s performance needs to be examined. Some have said they the French are jealous as it’s been so long since they had a champion in their national sport which they once dominated with the likes of 5 time winner Bernard Hinault the last French winner in 1985. Even yesterday’s stage is famous for Beranrd Thevenet toppling Eddy Merckx in 1975. Whilst there is no doubt some gallic pique as Spanish and English riders dominate the yellow jerseys, I do not accept this as Robert Virenque has been implicated in doping as much an any. Their press with L’Equipe at the helm are doing what they should do.
The Alps witnessed a few casualties. The American van Garderen left the race through illness, Albert Contador dropped out of contention, the world champion Kwiatowski too. Quintana and his Moviestar colleagues, notably Valverde, attacked Froome but he and his teammates, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas, held off every challenge. No doubt Quintana will resume his attacks today with 7 climbs and on Alpe d’Huez but Froome and his team seem too powerfully entrenched in the lead. 4 days in the Alps favoured Quintana but the SKY team have been peerless and one must stress have yet to fail a dope test.