Chris Froome feels the controversy surrounding an adverse finding in a drugs test last year has been "hyped up", insisting his focus is instead on aiding Sky team-mate Wout Poels in the Ruta del Sol.
Much of the attention in Andalusia has centred around Froome, who is starting his season this week and racing for the first time since December's revelation that a urine sample taken at the Vuelta a Espana contained twice the permitted amount of the asthma drug salbutamol.
However, speaking ahead of the competition's third stage on Friday, Froome was bemused by the attention his return has garnered.
"[The controversy] has definitely been hyped up in the media," he said. "Anyone can see that. It shows, it shows here at the race."
About to head to Ruta del Sol.— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) February 13, 2018
I want to thank everyone for their support & patience over this difficult period. I am doing my utmost to ensure that things are resolved as speedily as possible.
Can’t wait to get this season started!! #64RdS pic.twitter.com/tcyNKUTOIj
Froome remains seventh after the conclusion of the third day's racing in Herrera, but team-mate Poels is 28 points ahead and leading the general classification.
Now, Froome intends to help the Dutchman over the course of the weekend, conceding his own chances of victory are minimal.
"It will be difficult for me [to win]," he said afterwards.
"[With a gap of almost] 30 seconds in such a short time trial and such a short uphill finish [on Saturday], I don't see it happening with the strong field that's here.
"But it's very much in Wout's sights at the moment and we'll keep working at that."
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