Sky manager Dave Brailsford has repeated his call for the UCI to analyse power data in conjunction with the biological passport after a report on France Télévisions’ “Stade 2” show estimated that Chris Froome had produced 7.04 watts/kg during his ascent of La Pierre-Saint-Martin on stage 10 of the Tour de France.
The analysis of Froome’s performance was carried out by Pierre Sallet, the director of the “Athletes for Transparency” organisation. Sallet is the physiologist who looked to demonstrate how micro-dosing could circumvent the biological passport in a special report for “Stade 2” this spring.
“Froome is in a position where he ought to give us information on his physiological profile to explain how his performances are credible because all of the athletes in the past who have been above 7w/kg have been caught up in doping affairs,” Sallet said, pointing to the examples of Jan Ullrich and Lance Armstrong.
The precise methodology employed by Sallet was not disclosed in the two-minute video clip, though he explained that he was working off a reported body mass of 71kg for Froome.
“You have to be careful because it’s a mathematical formula. This isn’t the full data, that’s not Chris’s weight. It’s an estimate,” Brailsford said on “Stade 2” after the Sallet clip had been aired.
Brailsford later stated that he did not know Froome’s precise weight. “At this moment, I don’t know,” he said, adding he was not weighed every day. “Not this morning, for example,” he said.
As he had done during an appearance on France Télévisions earlier in the week, Brailsford said that he would like the UCI to analyse the power data of all riders along with their blood profiles, a concept that was previously proposed by BMC doctor Max Testa in an interview with Cyclingnews in 2011.
“We were in the same situation in 2013 and everybody wanted our power data, so we gave all of our data to UK Anti-Doping back then,” Brailsford said. “I can’t prove a negative but I can work with the UCI and independent experts and try to find a solution.
“I’m asking the UCI to do it in fact, because it’s not right what’s happening. Chris is special, that’s for sure. He has a special physiology, that’s for sure. But he doesn’t cheat.
Brailsford later defended Sky’s decision to use Mount Teide in Tenerife as its usual base for altitude training camps and rejected the claim that riders were not subjected to doping controls there, insisting that they had been controlled regularly this season following Froome’s protestations at a lack of testing in previous years.
Cedric Vassuer, France Télévisions’ motorbike reporter on the Tour, was one of the panellists on the show. Yellow jersey in the 1997 Tour, Vasseur is – seemingly – one the reporters blamed by Froome for contributing to the suspicion that surrounded his performance of La Pierre-Saint-Martin.
“I was right behind them and at that moment, I put myself in the place of Quintana and asked how Froome was able to pedal so much more quickly,” Vasseur said. “But there was no accusation.”