Disgraced cycling champion Lance Armstrong believes his misdeeds have contributed to an overreaction to Chris Froome's recent adverse drugs test.
Last week the world cycling body the UCI confirmed that double the allowed level of a legal asthma drug had been found in a test of four-time Tour de France winner Froome after a stage of the Vuelta a Espana in September.
Armstrong said that, upon reading reports of the Team Sky rider's adverse test, people might think "Chris Froome had a gallon of [performing enhancing drug] EPO for breakfast".
"He could be completely exonerated [but] the damage is done," he told podcast Stages.
"Come next July, when they are riding around France – it is already unpleasant for him – it is going to be mayhem. And I know what that feels like. It ain’t any fun."
Froome went on to win the Vuelta, becoming only the third rider in history to complete a Grand Tour double, the first since 1978 and the only person to do so since the Spanish event was moved to later in the year than the Tour de France.
Armstrong, who was stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won 1999 and 2005 for doping, added:
I have sort of tainted the entire equation… cycling is the sporting world’s doormat. And by the way, I have to take quite a lot of blame for that.
The onus is now on Froome and Team Sky to prove his innocence in the matter. The 32-year-old denies any wrongdoing and has said that he is "confident we will get to the bottom of this". But he added that he "understood people's concerns".
Debate remains as to whether the asthma drug in question, salbutamol – also known under its brand-name as Ventolin – is performance-enhancing.
Armstrong admitted to trying out his fiancee's asthma medication before going for a cycle ride earlier this week in the wake of the Froome test news.
"I didn’t feel anything aside from being a little fidgety," he said.
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