Tour de France champion Chris Froome would be happy to see drug cheats kicked out of cycling on a permanent basis.
Froome faced constant questioning on the issue of doping during his glorious Tour triumph this year – despite his Team Sky marque operating a zero-tolerance policy on drugs – with media and fans alike still reeling from disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s revelations earlier this year.
Yet while Froome feels the sport has now moved on from past scandals, the 28-year-old is in no doubt that harsher sanctions need to be handed down to anyone testing positive for drugs.
And he would be in favour of lifetime bans if someone had deliberately cheated.
“I definitely think there need to be harsher penalties for people who break the rules,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
“I’m not so sure they should be allowed back into the sport at all.
“Maybe I’d implement lifetime bans for people who did blood bags or EPO – or something that you know is 100 per cent cheating. I think in this day and age if there are new cases, I would like to see those guys out of the sport.”
He added: “I know it’s (the Tour) a race that you can believe in and certainly a race that can be won clean. I’ve got faith in the testing procedures. We’ve had a few positives this year already and that goes to show those guys aren’t getting away with it anymore.”
Froome also revealed he would be happy to ride under 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins once again, if it is in the best interests of Team Sky.
The Kenyan-born Briton was the chief support rider in Wiggins’ successful Tour last year although the pair are not close outside of cycling, preferring instead to maintain a professional relationship.
Yet Froome, who was chosen ahead of Wiggins as Team Sky’s leader in France this year before his fellow Briton pulled out of the race due to injury, would have no qualms in supporting his great rival.
“It’s a good thing for the team, a privileged position for the team, having two Tour winners and having the possibility of being able to play those different cards,” he said.
“At the end of the day people will need to remember, whatever race we go to, we will go there with a clear plan and, as professionals, we will stick to that plan regardless of if we’re mates or not.
“I’d love to be given the opportunity again to try to go for it and I think that would depend very much on how the route is and who it suits.
“It’s only right that if it’s a flat time trial every second day, it suits Bradley and we ride for him, 100 per cent.”