Team Sky data show Chris Froome’s climbs were exceptional but not abnormal

Brailsford calls for ‘power passports’ after revealing Froome’s performance figures

Chris Froome rides past fans as he climbs the Col de Soudet. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Chris Froome rides past fans as he climbs the Col de Soudet. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

 

Sir Dave Brailsford followed the release of a limited amount of Chris Froome’s physiological data from this year’s Tour de France by repeating his calls for greater transparency among teams and for the UCI to formulate a “power passport” using data from all the leading teams.

“If we’re trying to be sensible and fair, every team collects data on their riders. I’d call on the UCI. This is their domain,” the head of Team Sky said. “Ultimately I can’t see why any team would have a problem with divulging all of their power data to a set of independent experts.

“Then you can get longitudinal data and over a period of time give everybody a better picture of the overall situation. That is the obvious way to go. We invest in anti-doping already, all the teams. And I’m sure we’d be willing to invest a little bit more to resolve these situations.”

Brailsford had repeatedly rebuffed calls during the 2013 Tour and during this year’s race to publish Froome’s data, until prompted by a video ambush by the television station France 2 on Sunday.

Brailsford had been taken aback on the channel’s main sports programme when he was shown a video of Pierre Sallet, a doctor of physiology, calculating Froome’s power-to-weight ratio in watts per kilogram for the climb to La Pierre-Saint-Martin on stage 10 of the Tour.

Sallet made a calculation of 7.04 watts per kilogram which he claimed was “abnormally high” but which Brailsford said on Tuesday had been “wildly wrong”. Sky’s head of athlete performance, Tim Kerrison, said on Tuesday that Froome’s reading had been 5.78 watts per kilometre.

“I wasn’t aware of it [the Sallet video]. It did take me a bit by surprise,” Brailsford said. “I asked Tim to present a bit of data today to put to bed some of the numbers that they came up with, because they were wildly wrong.

“People do have to be responsible. What France 2 did, putting out that headline – seven watts per kilo, a picture of Lance Armstrong and a picture of [1997 Tour de France winner Jan] Ullrich – that was so wildly wrong on so many levels that we thought we should just correct that and give the concrete facts and give the evidence so hopefully people could judge for themselves.”

Froome had faced daily questioning over his performances since La Pierre-Saint-Martin, and had taken on the television commentators Laurent Jalabert and Cedric Vasseur for casting doubts over his probity.

The matter came to a head when a fan threw urine at him during Saturday’s stage and team members were spat upon during the race.

The Tour leader said he welcomed the release of the figures: “I’ve never had an issue with it. One of my most significant files is already out there, so what does it really change?

“I’m not sure if numbers are going to fix everything, but certainly I feel as a team and myself we’re definitely trying to be as open and transparent as possible.”

Froome is not the first Grand Tour contender to face such questioning – the American Chris Horner was quizzed when he won the 2013 Vuelta a España – but the Kenyan-born Briton has faced even more scrutiny this year than when he won the 2013 race. During that Tour, Sky released selected data to the newspaper L’Equipe, which mandated the physiologist Fred Grappe to examine it. He concluded the figures gave no grounds for suspicion.

Racing continues in the Tour on Wednesday with the first of four stages through the Alps, a 161.5km leg from Digne to the Pra-Loup ski resort, including the first-category climb of the Col d’Allos with its lengthy, sinuous descent where Froome, who leads the race by 3min 10sec from the Colombian Nairo Quintana, with the American Tejay van Garderen at 3min 32sec, expects to come under attack from Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 winner, and Alberto Contador. – Guardian

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