Team Sky Selectively Releases Power Data
Attempting to remove doping suspicions
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford is in talks with the World Anti-Doping Agency to release power data detailing Chris Froome’s performances from the last two years in hopes of quelling suspicion that he is doping. After a string of dominating results in this year’s Tour, Froome has repeatedly been accused of doping, though he has never tested positive for any banned substance.
“We have been in contact with WADA and UKAD (U.K. Anti-Doping) and things are progressing,” Brailsford told VeloNews. “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.
While Brailsford remains in talks with the official anti-doping agencies, he has already released power data from Froome’s ascent of 18 climbs over the past two years—from the 2011 Vuelta a Espana to his ascent and win on Mont Ventoux—to L’Equipe, which had the data analyzed by Frederic Grappe, a reputed sports researcher.
After analyzing the data, Grappe has come to Froome’s defense, saying that “During the last two years, his profile has not changed. It appears that the potential that he has today is similar to the one he had in 2011.”
While some anti-doping advocates immediately lauded Sky’s move toward transparency, others took to questioning Grappe’s authority and the team’s decision to selectively release data, ignoring the years before Froome joined Sky and saw marked gains (though it is unclear how much power data Froome has from that period).
Much of the criticism centers around Grappe’s comments in 2001 in support of Lance Armstrong: “Certain people say silly things. When we are told that a rider is not able to put out 420-430 Watts in a time trial, that is false. Not so long ago, one of the riders with whom I was involved climbed Mont Faron at a power of 400 Watts for 20 minutes, and he is far from being Armstrong. Consequently, I am not astonished that Armstrong or others can produce 460 or 470 Watts on a mountain. It is not impossible.”