• Tour de France

Froome shocked by former team mate's drug revelations

ESPN staff
July 3, 2014
Impey wore the yellow jersey for two stages during last year's Tour © Getty Images

Chris Froome says he is shocked former team mate Daryl Impey has tested positive for a banned substance on the eve of the Tour de France.

Impey, 29, has denied any wrongdoing but has been left out of Orica-GreenEdge's team for the tour, which starts in Leeds on Saturday, after testing positive for Probenecid, which can be used as a diuretic and a masking agent, and close friend Froome finds the timing of the news strange.

The defending champion said: "It was quite shocking to have the news about Daryl, someone I know really well. He's been a team-mate with me on Barloworld. It was quite shocking news. It's always harder when you know the person on a personal level."

"I did send him a message when I found out. I just said I was really shocked to read the news. And I hope things get resolved. I don't know if it is something that can be resolved on his side or if it is 100 per cent definite. Knowing Daryl's character he has always been very outspoken against doping so it is a big shock to me."

The pair rode together for the now defunct Barloworld team in 2008 when Froome, who was schooled in Impey's native South Africa, competed in his first tour. But, as the cycling world descends on Yorkshire for the Tour de France's Grand Depart on Saturday, the disclosure of yet more drug cases has overshadowed the race.

Froome is preparing for the defence of the title he won last year © Getty Images

"That is massive news in cycling," Froome added. "It's right on the eve of the Tour, right when the spotlight is on cycling. It is a bit strange that we get to the eve of the Tour and cases come out in the days leading up, but to say there's any foul play or anything, I wouldn't be able to say that. It's harmful to the sport and a big shame."

Last week, Roman Kreuziger was relieved of his duties by Tinkoff-Saxo due to irregularities surrounding his biological passport and Froome has himself had to deal with unrelenting scrutiny of his performances. "But I do think it's a good thing that we talk about it, that we put all of our cards on the table," he said.

Impey, who wore the yellow jersey for the two days that preceded Froome's victory on the eighth stage last year, has categorically denied the allegations, claiming he does not even know what Probenecid is.

Froome, meanwhile, insists he had no role to play in the Sir Bradley Wiggins' omission from Team Sky's nine-man squad. Wiggins became the first British rider to win the yellow jersey in 2012 but missed last year's edition through injury and was overlooked again this summer.

The pair, although team mates, have not seen eye to eye in the past but Froome denied claims he, as team leader, had a say in leaving Wiggins out.

"Just to make it absolutely clear, I do not have a role in selection," said Froome. "I speak to [Team Sky principal Sir] Dave Brailsford about generally the group of guys I've been racing with, but, if you look at how a Tour team is generally selected, the guys doing a Tour will be doing altitude camps together, racing together as a group."

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