Chris Froome doping claims: Tour de France champion reveals test data to end the doubts

Sky rider reiterates his anger at being accused of cheating in interview with Esquire magazine

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The Independent Online

Double Tour de France champion Chris Froome has moved to finally silence the allegations of doping that have been levelled at him by publishing his personal physiological test results from 2007 and this year.

In an article published by Esquire magazine online, the Team Sky rider argues strongly that his yellow jerseys will never be tarnished by retrospective testing and there is no reason for suspicion about his victories.

Froome is not the first British Tour winner to release independent physiological data. In 2009, after he achieved his breakthrough top-five finish in the Tour, Sir Bradley Wiggins revealed details of his blood results from the previous year. 

Then during this year’s Tour, Froome, together with Team Sky, released power and physiological data from La Pierre Saint Martin, a climb where he all but won the race, in an attempt to quell speculation. The data published today, however, covers a broader time span, some of it coming from 2007, other parts from this year.

Back in July, despite Froome’s data release, the atmosphere on the Tour grew toxic with doping allegations and in today’s interview the Sky rider reiterates his anger at being accused of cheating. He is also adamant that though the suspicion made this year’s Tour more difficult, he rose to the challenge.

“I’m the only one who can really say 100 per cent that I’m clean. I haven’t broken the rules,” Froome stated. “I haven’t cheated, I haven’t taken any secret substance that isn’t known of yet. I know my results will stand the test of time, that 10, 15 years down the line people won’t say, ‘Ah, so that was his secret’. There isn’t a secret.”

Froome argued that the allegations did not detract from his latest Tour victory and said: “Nothing is going to taint that for me.” However, he recognised that the accusations of cheating could anger him, because “it’s basically 

calling me a complete fraud. All the hard work, all the training, goes out of the window when someone says you’re doping. It does bother me.”

However, professional cycling has had the murkiest of pasts and Froome recognises that questions “do need to be asked”.

While some of the samples studied were taken during unannounced testing in this summer’s Tour and again in August for the athletes’ biological passport programme, other results came from testing at the GSK Human performance laboratory in the summer. Further data in the article is derived from the summer of 2007, from tests taken by the UCI, cycling’s governing body, at its World Cycling Centre, when Froome was in his first year as a professional.

Of the figures released, the power data with a peak power of 525 watts and sustained power of 419 watts shows an athlete in maximum physical condition, as might well be expected during the summer, when a Tour specialist like Froome is performing at his best.

Perhaps the one figure that stands out is Froome’s VO2 max – the body’s ability to use oxygen when at maximum exertion, in layperson’s terms the size of an athlete’s “engine” – of 88.2 when at Tour de France weight. For a multiple Tour winner, though, it is arguably not exceptional.

Olympic gold medallist and multiple Tour de France stage winner Chris Boardman has praised Froome’s decision to publish the data. 

Boardman told The Independent: “I can understand the reservations about people interpreting the data, but more [information] is better and it’s more interesting for the sport as well.”

He believes that the relentless questioning around Froome has its roots in the doubts produced by the Lance Armstrong scandals, which revealed that the American’s run of Tour wins was fuelled by doping. “People are still in mourning, still coming to terms with the fact that you are never going to have pure clarity,” Boardman added. “Him being the statesman of the day [as the winner of the Tour] people just want him to answer for all their feelings.”

Read the full interview at: chrisfroome.esquire.co.uk/ 

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