Chris Froome has described winning the Tour de France for the second time in three years as an “amazing feeling”, as he pledged to uphold the honour of the competition’s yellow jersey.
The Team Sky cyclist made sporting history on Sunday by securing the third British victory in the Tour in four years, crossing the finish line more than a minute clear of his closest rival.
But the 30-year-old cyclist has been the subject of doping allegations – fiercely denied by Froome and his team – and during the Tour he was doused in urine and spat at.
Speaking after returning home on Monday, he said he had worked “extremely hard” to get into peak physical condition for the event.
He added: “Cycling has had a bad past, a bad history, but the sport has changed.
“Of course questions need to be asked, that’s normal.
“But it should no longer be met with same hostility that it has been in the past.
“A good performance should be recognised as a good performance.
“From my point of view I’m certainly not going to do any harm to the image of the yellow jersey and obviously I know that, but it’s something that I feel very strongly about.”
Shortly after Froome’s victory, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford addressed the claims, comparing those searching for evidence to people who believe in the Loch Ness monster.
“You can’t prove him negative, but there is a weight of evidence to show that we are doing it the right way,” he said.
“We are a clean team, and Chris Froome is just a fantastic champion.”
Some of Froome’s performance data was released during the Tour to appease accusers.
The cyclist told his detractors he is “not superhuman like they make out”.
Froome explained that Team Sky had tried to be as transparent as possible “without releasing too much of our competitive advantage”.
He had a 72-second advantage over his nearest rival, Nairo Quintana, following the penultimate stage of the race on Saturday.
Froome rode into the French capital without incident on Sunday’s final stage to claim victory in the overall classification.
But there will be little rest for the Kenyan-born cyclist, who plans to continue riding professionally for “as long as possible”.
Froome also anticipates further battles with Quintana, who finished as runner-up for a second time.
The 21st and final stage of the competition got off to a bad start on Sunday when police opened fire on a car which tried to crash through barriers in Paris.
The suspect driving the car drove away and police launched a search.
The vehicle was later found abandoned.
An official said: “This is a minor incident.
“It wasn’t aimed at the Tour de France, it’s not terrorism, it’s just a simple refusal to comply, as there are many every day.”