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Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford defends Chris Froome…

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Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford stressed after Chris Froome’s historic Giro d’Italia win that the rider was able to perform as he did because he “100 per cent knows that he has done nothing wrong”.

Froome became the first British man to win the Giro on Sunday as he completed the set of Grand Tour victories with his third successive triumph.

The 33-year-old Team Sky rider’s sixth Grand Tour title, following last year’s fourth Tour de France and maiden La Vuelta wins, sees him become the seventh man to have won all three races.

Chris Froome is the first British rider to win the Giro d´Italia (Daniel Dal Zennaro/AP)

And he is just the third to hold the trio of titles simultaneously, Eddy Merckx in 1973 and Bernard Hinault nine years later being the others to have achieved the feat.

He added to his haul while controversy generated by his adverse analytical finding for Salbutamol at last year’s La Vuelta remains ongoing.

When asked about that situation, and Froome managing to keep such focus and cycle at such a level, Brailsford said on Eurosport: “The reason he can do that is because he 100 per cent knows that he has done nothing wrong.

“It’s not been easy and he’s had to remain focused, but we’re all believing the truth will stand up and things will work out.

“For all of us, for cycling, for everybody, we hoped it would be sorted out already if the truth be told.

“It is really, really important for everyone that this uncertainty doesn’t hang around, and we’d like it to be resolved as quickly as anybody, let me reassure you of that.”

Froome has spoken openly about his need to control his asthma and denies wrongdoing, bidding to prove his use of the substance was legitimate.

On Friday Froome was pursued by two spectators dressed as doctors and carrying a giant inhaler.

It was on that day that he moved into the overall lead as he won stage 19 with a stunning ride, going from fourth in the general classification, three minutes and 22 seconds off the top, to 40 seconds clear in first of nearest rival Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), the Dutchman who won last year’s Giro.

That extended to 46 seconds on Saturday as Froome all but ensured his status as champion, and that was how the GC also looked on Sunday after a 115-kilometre, largely ceremonial final stage in Rome that was neutralised after three laps.

Froome, who not only wore a pink jersey but also rode a pink bike during a 21st stage that was won by Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), said: “It has just been incredible.

“Obviously for any cyclist this is the dream. To have all three leaders’ jerseys in the space of 10 months is just incredible, incredible feeling. I’m still pinching myself.’

“There is a reason I haven’t won the Giro until now. It’s such an unpredictable race. It’s different to other Grand Tours. There’s a lot of risk involved. It’s probably the hardest of all three for someone of my abilities to win. It has been the biggest challenge of my career.

“The last 48 hours have just been a whirlwind. That attack (on Friday), and how that worked out, then defending it yesterday – it has just been an incredible experience.

“It is such a huge honour to be mentioned in the same sort of light as those guys (Merckx and Hinault), in that sense.”

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