GAP, France (AFP) — Sky principal Dave Brailsford on Thursday confirmed he had written to the World Anti-Doping Agency to offer details of Chris Froome’s performances in a bid to end the climate of suspicion surrounding the Tour de France leader.
Froome’s string of stunning performances on this year’s Tour, from his mountaintop wins at Ax 3 Domaines and on Mont Ventoux to his victory in Wednesday’s individual time-trial in Chorges, have aroused suspicion from fans and journalists who remain skeptical in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.
And Brailsford revealed that he is trying be proactive in order to change the minds of those who refuse to believe that the current yellow jersey wearer has not doped.
“We have been in contact with WADA and UKAD (U.K. Anti-Doping) and things are progressing,” he said before the start of Thursday’s 18th stage in Gap. “I don’t know what the process is because we have never done this before, but we are trying to react to a situation, trying to think creatively about a situation.
“Nobody asked me to do this. I suggested it would be a good idea to contact them; they didn’t contact me.
“I have gone to them and said, ‘Actually guys, we would like to give you everything that we’ve got. How do you feel about that?’”
Brailsford was speaking after French sports daily L’Equipe reported on Thursday that it had received data directly from Sky relating to Froome’s performances on 18 climbs over the last two years, from the 2011 Vuelta a España up to and including last Sunday’s ascent of Mont Ventoux. L’Equipe did not publish the performance data, but reported that it had been analyzed by Frederic Grappe, a cycling coach who is also a reputed researcher in sports science.
Grappe claimed that there is nothing abnormal about the Kenya-born Briton’s performances after dissecting his data, saying that his Record Power Profile (PPR) — the maximum power, in watts, that a rider can generate over a given period — showed nothing untoward and that his power data from the last two years is coherent with his profile.
He also wrote that Froome’s weight, 68kg, has barely changed over the last two years, but it was added that his V02 max — the maximal amount of oxygen an athlete can intake during exercise — has never been measured by Sky. Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of the Garmin-Sharp team, wroter earlier in the day on Twitter that his team did not measure V02 either.
“All I know is that what we do is clean, what we do is professional, and we try to think of innovative solutions, try to be flexible, try to react, not just stick to the same old mantra,” added Brailsford. “I could stand here and just say, ‘We’ve not failed any drug tests.’ You’ve heard it all before. It’s not going to get us anywhere. There is no point in going down that line. We need to be more creative.”