Sky boss Dave Brailsford offers team data in effort to quell doping slurs
Chris Froome rejects Lance Armstrong comparisons: ‘He cheated and I am not cheating. End of story’
Overall Tour de France leader Chris Froome answers reporters’ questions on the rest day of the Tour de France in Orange, southern France. Photograph: Laurent Cipriani/AP
Dave Brailsford has offered to turn over all Team Sky’s performance data to the World Anti-Doping Agency for it to make an independent assessment of whether the squad’s riders are drug-free.
In his latest attempt to quell the insinuations that his team are doping, Brailsford, the head of Team Sky, also invited the Tour de France’s media to club together and provide him with a list of their questions regarding the team’s ethics.
“They can have everything we’ve got,” he said of Wada. “They can come and live with us. They can see all of our data, every single training file that we’ve got. They can compare training files to blood data, weight; they can capture that information on a consistent basis.
“They could then tell the world whether they think this is credible or not. That would be my best shot.”
The two moves reflect the Team Sky head and British Cycling performance director’s increasing concern at the continual questions over Chris Froome’s two crushing mountain stage wins in this year’s Tour.
Brailsford set out yesterday to ride up Mont Ventoux with some of his team’s staff, but beforehand he and Froome expressed their frustration at a brief press conference.
“It’s quite sad that we are sitting here the day after the biggest victory of my life, quite a historic win, talking about doping,” said Froome, who had strengthened his grip on the race lead on the Ventoux on Sunday, with a ride that many onlookers felt had probably won him the Tour.
“Me and my team-mates have slept on top of volcanoes to get ready for this. We’ve been away from home for months, training together, working our arses off to get here and here I am being accused of being a cheat and a liar. That’s how I feel.”
Brailsford concurred: “You watch something like that [Froome’s ride on Sunday], the work that we do, the energy and effort we put into it.
“Chris had been down to recce the Ventoux, had thought very carefully about how to ride it. When you see that performance . . . it’s such a fantastic end to finish it, it’s quite emotional to watch. The first thing in my mind is, ‘That’s my five minutes of joy gone, let’s get on to the doping question’.
“I’m not saying it’s not a legitimate question but if there is a tinge of frustration, that’s why it’s there.
“You’re asking me how can I prove to you that I’m not doping. You’re all asking the same questions, obviously.
“We rack our brains every day – I assure you we’re thinking of the optimal way to prove to you guys that we’re not doping.”
Brailsford repeated his belief that there is no point in the team releasing the power data from Froome and other team members to the public, as some of his questioners have suggested, as in his view it would muddy the waters.
Earlier, Froome said there was no comparison that could be drawn between his performances and those of Lance Armstrong.
“To compare me with Lance . . .” said Froome. “Lance cheated and I am not cheating. End of story.
“ I can only be open and say to people that I know in myself that I’ve trained hard to get here and my results are my own.
“They are the product of determination – it’s been a long battle to get to where I am now. Anything outside of that I can’t talk about.”