ENTRECHAUX, France —
“I can assure you that we are thinking very, very hard about the optimal way of proving to you guys that we’re not doping,” Sky team manager Dave Brailsford said Monday, adding that the World Anti-Doping Agency could help by appointing an expert to scrutinize Froome.
“They can come and live with us,” Brailsford said.“They can have all of our information. They can see all of our data.”
Brailsford and Froome would much rather be focusing on the Alps.
And judging by what Contador saw on the 21-kilometer (13-mile) ascent up Ventoux, the Spaniard has every reason to fear more misery there.
“My objective was to win the Tour, but (Froome) is a level above the rest,” Contador said.
If Contador thinks Ventoux was tough, then he will be dreading Thursday’s 18th stage — featuring two big climbs up l’Alpe d’Huez, one of the Tour’s most famed mountain passes.
That is bad enough, but Friday’s 204.5-kilometer (127-mile) trek from Bourg d’Oisans to Le Grand-Bornand looks horrendous.
There is simply no respite.
The day begins with two massive climbs, known as HC (Hors Categorie, essentially meaning they are beyond classification because they are so tough) and finishes with two nasty Category 1 climbs, a level just below HC but still incredibly hard.
For good measure, Saturday’s stage ends with a 10.7-kilometer (6.6-mile) HC climb up to Semnoz.
Froome, however, remains wary of Contador.
“There are a lot of very eager racers in the peloton left with a lot still to prove,” Froome said. “For us it’s about keeping the yellow jersey and riding in whatever way we can to best defend (it). I don’t think we are necessarily on a mission to try and win every mountain top finish.”
There is a glimmer of hope for Contador, however, because Froome’s Sky teammates have struggled at times. On two stages, Froome had to fend for himself. If that happens again in the Alps — and if he has a bad day — he could yet lose a serious amount of time.