Christophe Laporte says "it's always the same" as he and his Jumbo-Visma team respond to insinuations of doping following their dominant performance at the Tour de France.
Jonas Vingegaard took home the yellow jersey for the Dutch team by some distance over Tadej Pogacar following a series of supreme mountain displays, while Wout Van Aert landed the green jersey and three stage wins.
But the nature of these performances means that - given cycling's tainted past - the issue of doping has reared its head once again, with some questioning how Jumbo-Visma have delivered their success.
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Speaking to L'Equipe, Laporte, who himself won Stage 19, countered: “I know that some people don’t believe in our performance.
“In recent days, there has been a lot of criticism, it’s always the same, the rider who wins the Tour, no one ever believes it.
"Cycling is struggling to wash its image, it’s unfortunate.
“I hear what people say about me: ‘Laporte, he was not advancing, and now he is winning the Tour'.
“Even those who follow cycling don’t try to understand.
"Realising that a team with such a budget, with riders of this level, and an organisation around which the level of requirements is 100 per cent explains a lot things.”
Vingegaard was also questioned on the topic prior to the final processional stage of the Tour, and - echoing Laporte - highlighted his team's professionalism whilst also urging people to give them their trust.
The Dane said: “We’re totally clean. Everyone of us. I can say that to everyone of you.
“No one of us is taking anything illegal. I think why we’re so good is the preparation that we do.
"We take altitude camps to the next step. We do everything with material, food, and training. The team is the best within this. That’s why you have to trust.”
Van Aert was another to be quizzed during the latter stages of the Tour, but gave the issue rather shorter shrift.
The Belgian said: “I don’t even want to answer this question, it’s such a s*** question.
"It comes back every time after somebody is winning in the Tour."
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