Sisteron, France, July 21, 2015 (AFP) – Chris Froome’s Sky team said on
Tuesday they have shared a “billion points of data” with the UK Anti-Doping
Agency in a bid to quash speculation their team leader is cheating.
Sky held a press conference during the second and final Tour de France rest
day in Sisteron, near Gap in the Alps, in which they shared some of Froome’s
The move came after a week of constant doping speculation and accusations
thrown at the 30-year-old Tour leader since his stage 10 victory up to La
Pierre-Saint Martin in the Pyrenees a week ago.
A few days after that success, France Televisions produced a study by their
own expert into the amount of power generated by Froome on his climb to La
The study, looking at Froome’s power to weight ratio, claimed he had
produced an effort of 7.04 watts per kilogramme. The higher that ratio, the
faster a rider will climb.
But Sky’s own expert Tim Kerrison, head of athlete performance, produced
his figures after team manager Dave Brailsford claimed the French study was
“so wildly wrong on so many levels”.
Australian Kerrison claimed Froome’s average watts output was 414 rather
than the 425 claimed by the French expert and that his true watts per kilo
translated to a figure of 5.78.
French expert Pierre Sallet from the Athletes for Transparency organisation
had claimed on France 2’s ‘Stade 2’ programme that a normal figure should be
6.5 and that anything over 7.0 was abnormal and had only been recorded in
doped riders such as disgraced pair Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich — hence a
7.04 figure for Froome would have suggested he was also doped.
Brailsford, who had been invited onto the Stade 2 programme only to be
blindsided with Sallet’s data analysis, blasted the programme-makers for
“I understood the straight facts weren’t correct and I actually asked for
some time to present a bit of data today to put to bed some of the numbers
they presented, because they were wildly wrong,” said the Sky manager.
“You’ve got to be respectable, if you are going to present something to the
nation’s people you have to get it right.”
– Max heart-rate –
Kerrison offered more data on Froome to try to dispel any ideas that his
performances, either in 2013 or this year, were out of the ordinary for him.
He claimed Froome had averaged a pedal-rate of 97 revolutions per minute on
the 15.3km La Pierre-Saint Martin climb with an average heart-rate of 158 and
a maximum of 174.
After Froome’s stage 10 victory, Sky claimed their computers had been
hacked and data from his 2013 Tour stage victory on Mont Ventoux was stolen
and shared on the internet.
That appeared to show his heart-rate staying at a stable 160 when
accelerating on the mountain.
But Kerrison revealed Froome’s maximum heart rate in the second week of the
2013 Tour had been 168, his maximum at last year’s Vuelta 171 and as he
managed 174 here, that would show consistent progression.
“For sure there’s a limit to human capabilities although I’m not sure what
the process would be to define that line,” said Kerrison.
“Human performances evolve and we’ll all be sitting here in 30 years
thinking it (Froome’s latest demonstration) wasn’t that remarkable.”
Froome himself said he would not let, and indeed has not let, the bad
publicity affect his performances.
“All that has been going on in the sidelines really has been more of a
sideshow, my focus has been on the race and I think the racing shows that
nothing’s thrown me off in that regard,” he said.
“It’s a normal week of racing at the office on the Tour de France.”
But Froome did admit to being frustrated at the difference in treatment he
receives compared to his rivals.
“Obviously we seem to cop a lot of speculation and a lot of doubts around
our performances. Why aren’t those same level of doubts cast upon similar
performances of other general classification contenders? Why only us?”