Five-time Tour champion Bernard Hinault strongly defended his sport when asked about Armstong's reported comments by CNN affiliate BFMTV.
The French legend said that if other sports were as tightly controlled as cycling "we would be laughing for five minutes."
He angrily added "one has to stop thinking that cyclists are drug addicts, thugs."
Froome's other likely rival, Spaniard Alberto Contador, has himself served a ban after giving a positive test for the banned steroid clenbuterol on the way to winning the 2010 edition, the title later awarded to Andy Schleck of Luxembourg.
Saxo Bank's Contador has always protested his innocence and his route to redemption may well lie in the 2013 race, which takes in 28 mountain ascents, four of which finish at the top, suiting his climbing abilities.
Away from the battle for yellow, sprinting stars such as Britain's Mark Cavendish and Slovakian Peter Sagan will battle it out for the green points jersey on the flatter stages.
Cavendish, led out by Wiggins, crossed the line first on Champs Elysees last year, his 23rd Tour stage win, closing fast on the all-time record of 34 by the five-time overall winner Eddy Merckx of Belgium.
It is unlikely a home rider will add to France's record 38 overall victories, the last of which came from Hinault back in 1985, but Desgrange would surely have been proud of how his creation has gained such international appeal.
Since it's first incursion into the Netherlands in 1954, the Tour has visited major capitals such as London and Berlin, while the 2014 race will start in the English northern county of Yorkshire.
American Greg Lemond, an outspoken critic of Armstrong, was the first non-European winner of the Tour in 1986 and Wiggins' historic victory last year is likely to continue this trend as the well financed Team Sky squad has the resources and rider lineup to dominate for the foreseeable future.