Tour de France 2020

Holm: Cycling has earned doping suspicion

Omega Pharma director says media right to ask doping questions and riders should get used to it

SAINT-NAZAIRE, France (AFP) — Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Danish sporting director Brian Holm said on Monday that Chris Froome (Sky) and the other present-day stars of the professional cycling must get used to batting away questions about doping because past controversies mean cycling deserves to be treated with suspicion.

“People keep bringing it up because we deserve it, so you cannot be angry about being asked the question,” Holm said on the Tour de France’s first rest day. “We’ve got a strong tradition for doping in cycling. We’ve been lying for so many years.”

Holm, who has admitted doping while riding during the 1990s, spoke after questions were asked in some quarters about Sky following its extraordinary performance on Saturday’s stage 8, in which Froome produced the third-fastest time ever in the climb to the finish at Ax 3 Domaines in the Pyrénées.

Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s global governing body, the UCI, spoke out on Monday against doping-related questions from the media.

“I think the riders deserve another thing than to be asked about doping as the first question when they show up in the press conference,” he said. “In the recent classics, yesterday [Sunday] and the day before, the first questions the riders had to answer were about doping, I think it is unfortunate.

“I think the media have to understand the riders of today don’t deserve to be judged on the mistakes of their predecessors, of the riders of a generation of the past now. Riders of today need to be respected for what they are trying to do, which is to race clean and race without a doping program.”

Holm disagreed, but said he thinks Sky is racing — and winning — clean.

“If you ask me straight, I wouldn’t lie. I think Froome is clean. I really think so, and I think [Bradley] Wiggins was clean when he won last year,” he added. “If it’s not true it would break my heart. I can understand Chris Froome being a little annoyed at being asked the question, but we need to be open-minded and try not to let it get to us when these things happen.”