Ross Tucker speaks to Off The Ball about "apathy" toward cycling and a growing distrust in sport

The Professor of Exercise Physiology chats to the show about Chris Froome's performance in this year's Tour de France

Chris Froome

Image: Peter Dejong / AP/Press Association Images

Ross Tucker says that there is a growing "apathy" in fans toward cycling in the wake of previous doping scandals and that distrust in wider sport is becoming more common.

Tucker, a Professor of Exercise Physiology, was speaking on Thursday night's Off The Ball about this year's Tour de France and Chris Froome's quest for a hat-trick of titles.

"I've been less immersed, if that's the right word, in the Tour this year," he said, "I think that's what Froome is picking it up when he calls it a 'shift'. I wouldn't call it the absence of the same questions being asked. It's not that I don't think they're not there, I just think people have a certain apathy and an uncertainty about bringing up the same old thing.

"There's only so many times you can say something before you get bored of it yourself."

He discussed Froome's performances in the Tour this year, in what seems to be turning into an impression for the Sky rider.

"Froome this year has been completely dominant, I don't think anyone has even made an impression on his opportunities and chances to win. He's looked completely in control on the stages he would be challenged and he's also managed to take time out of his rivals where people might not have expected it... Tactically he's been better and more innovative than he would have been in the past. 

"David Walsh called it ridiculous dominance and I would not disagree with that. My issue is how it was achieved and that's the big question. That's where I don't think someone can talk about cycling independent of the broader picture where sport is and some of the things that we've learned in the last year."

In terms of his performances and statistics, Tucker points out clear and major similarities of his Tour this year in comparison to the previous two years and yet still have the same questions hanging overhead.

"The performances are at the same level as they have been for the last few years in this particular era. They're similar to the performances from the Lance Armstrong era. There are some performances Froome has done that are superior to Armstrong's and vice versa so we're basically in the same situation we were in in 2015, in 2014 and in 2013. That can be somewhat frustrating... We're asking the exact same questions because they haven't been answered and exactly the same doubts exist in my opinion.

"This comes with the condition that the current climate in sport has become even less trusting because of what has happened even outside of cycling. We had the motor story as well so now we have mechanical doping. The sport's trust for me continues to decline, year-on-year. That's all sport and not just cycling."