CHESTERMAN SISTERON (France) • Tour de France leader Chris Froome is clean, say his rivals, noting that the intense media scrutiny of him is a "lynching".
Froome, 30, has had to put up with speculation about his performances from certain sections of the media after producing a dominant victory in Stage 10 a week ago.
His team Sky responded on Tuesday by publishing some power data from Froome on the final Stage 10 climb to La Pierre-Saint Martin in the hope of proving there was nothing unusual in it.
Nairo Quintana, who sits second behind Froome in the overall standings, said the rivalry between Britain and France could be affecting certain people's judgement.
"There are always good and bad comments, there are always fanatics in one way or another, rivalries between countries, for that reason, you get certain comments," said the 25-year-old Colombian.
His remarks came before the race yesterday headed to the Alps, where there will be four stages and 18 categorised climbs to scale.
"For me, there's been a little bit of lack of respect for the sportsmen and, if anyone should judge, it's the testers," he added.
Tejay van Garderen, 26, third overall at 3min 32sec, insisted Froome is paying for other people's legacies, referring to drug cheats like Lance Armstrong.
Van Garderen finished 10th on the 10th stage, 2min 30sec behind Froome. But unlike those who have cried foul over the Briton's performance, the American did not find it remarkable.
"If I look at the numbers that I did and the time he did, it's clear he dealt with the heat and dealt with the rest day better than other people did," he said.
Said Alejandro Valverde, fourth at 4min 02sec, of Froome: "He's a great rider with a strong head but I don't know if he's paying for all this pressure he's enduring." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE