Chris Froome - is he clean?

Posted Wed, 22nd Jul 2015

This is quite a controversial subject and probably one that is only discussed 

behind closed doors. I haven't seen many blogs or articles on the issue other 

than from leading publishers, which shows that not many people are open 

about writing about the issue. I also think that there is an element of feeling 

uneducated on the subject and that as fans of the sport, we still don't fully 

understand the issue in its entirety.

 

Whenever someone wins the tour now, there will always be an element of 

doubt due to previous riders actions and they are now admitting this and are 

more open about talking about it. After a difficult Tour last year, it is Chris 

Froomes turn to take on the Media full steam ahead with questions of doping 

and cheating as he has had a few very good performances in the Pyrenees 

mountains.

 

My view, Froome and the Sky team are clean.

 

My reasons are that I think since the Lance Armstrong admission, I think 

testing is stricter,  I think the media is more demanding than ever before 

and I think the pressure is actually greater to dope now than it is to not 

dope. I think we need to start by looking at the facts, breaking it into what 

we know and what we don't know before making a conclusion.

 

What we know:

  1. Sir Dave Brailsford has an exceptional CV and took British Cycling from an amateur sport into one of the most successful sports in the UK
  2. Sir Dave Brailsford is a big campaigner for clean cycling
  3. Team Sky have a very strong team that carries Froome the majority of the race
  4. Sponsored by Wahoo Kickr utilising a similar software that we use
  5. They are tested on a regular basis, especially when in competition
  6. Froomes W/kg is 5.78, not the 7w/kg that was speculated
  7. Team Sky are a professional team and ride day in, day out with one of the most wealthy media companies as their sponsor. Money is no issue for this team to win.

 

What we don't know:

  1. Team Sky's training programme
  2. What Froomes FTP is
  3. What other riders power was during the mon ventoux stage in 2013
  4. What Sir Dave Brailsford has done with the team in the background

 

 

I think one of the biggest areas that is being overlooked is the power train 

that is Froomes support team. With Richie Port, Gerraint Thomas, Luke 

Rowe, Ian Stannard, Nicholas Roche and Wouter Poels they have one of the 

most focused, structured and powerful lead out teams ever in the Tour de 

France. They carry Froome to strategic points of the race that allow for him 

to stay fresh and able to sustain or create attacks that put serious time into 

other riders. This type of racing needs a team and not a collection of 

individuals, which is where I think other teams lack the ability to dominate 

the race.

 

I deal with power readings, stress scores, intensity factors day in and day 

out with my clients. I use power with my clients because it gives so much 

more data for us to analyse but 99% of my clients have never seen power 

data or used power data before, which shows the lack of education around 

the topic and many people don't know what measurements are normal or 

abnormal.

 

When I saw the video of Froomes Power data up Mon Ventoux, I didn't see 

anything abnormal about it at all. I saw 400w average with a couple of 30 

second breaks at about 6/7w/kg which is completely normal for a 

professional UCI contintental rider. Alberto Contadors FTP is 400w (the 

amount of power he can hold for 1 hour) so surely a rider with the physical 

attributes of mountain climbing, one of the best support teams in the 

Tour de France, an amazing Director of Cycling, a sponsor that has endless 

amounts of money couldn't utilise the technology that is out there to 

enhance his performance, without the use of drugs?*

 

I therefore got on to a computrainer to see if I could hold  7w/kg for 10, 20 

and 30 seconds. Granted there isn't the fatigue levels of Froome, the 

altitude, and isn't the most scientific of tests, etc etc but if I can hold those 

numbers for 30 seconds, then surely a trained professional would be able to 

do the same?

 

Have a look at my test in the youtube video and my conclusions to this article.

 

My main points would be that people need to understand the data and the 

facts before they comment. The claims were wildly outlandish and have 

made Froome suffer at the hands of the fans, which is highly wrong in my 

opinion.

 

We need to look, acknowledge and commend Sir Dave Brailsford on the 

remarkable gift he has given cycling, starting with the track and now out on 

the road. He is an amazing Director and we are very lucky to have been 

given his talents to create such amazing British teams. He doesn't think 

outside of the box, because there is no box for Brailsford, which is why 

everyone around him thrives.

 

Vive le Tour

 

*Since writing this article, Team Sky released Chris Froomes power data for stage 10 of the 2015 Tour de France on La Pierre-Saint-Martin. He went up the 15.3km climb in 41.5 minutes and averaged 414w. With a weight of around 67.5kg that comes to a power to weight ratio of 5.78w/kg. Distinctly normal for a racer of Froome's pedigree. Froome has actually exceeded his highest power output of 419w for 30 minutes 16 times over the past year, showing that he can go even harder if he wishes, and so can other riders should they wish too. 

 

 

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