In the midst of fresh scrutiny over his performances, Chris Froome is planning to undergo independent physiological testing in the hope of proving he is a clean rider.
Data purportedly showing Froome’s power, cadence, and heart rate values from his stage-winning ride on Mont Ventoux in the 2013 Tour was posted online last week, and later made into a video. The video shows how the Team Sky rider's values fluctuated in real time and has been used on social media to question whether his performance was credible.
The posting of the video preceded another stunning Tour performance from Froome on Tuesday as he dealt body blows to all his rivals on the race’s first foray into the high mountains. It has intensified the scrutiny on Froome, who once again finds himself in the yellow jersey and facing questions over his credibility.
"What haven't I done? I've tried to be as much as a spokesman as I can for clean cycling," Froome said in his post-stage press conference. "I've spoken to the CIRC, I've made suggestions to the governing body to implement things like nighttime testing, I've pointed out when I thought there wasn't enough testing, cases like Tenerife. What else is a clean rider supposed to do?"
According to certain British newspapers, Froome has decided there is a further step he can take, and that will be to publish the results of a physiological test he will undergo after the Tour. His hope is to show the doubters, or “clowns” as he referred to using things like power data as evidence for doping, that he is naturally capable of such feats.
When asked about the testing ahead of stage 11 on Wednesday, Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said that it would "possibly" happen, and that any details would be unveiled "in the fullness of time".
Speaking to Cyclingnews yesterday, Vayer argued that cycling must adapt to the future and that teams should lay out performance data for all to see.
Some are reluctant to do so as it might give competitors a vital insight, and Sky principal Dave Brailsford has always been wary of the ‘pseudo-science’ that sees such data tied to accusations of doping. That said, during the 2013 Tour he did offer some of Froome’s files to L’Equipe, whose expert concluded his performances were possible without doping.
One figure who envisages a solution is FDJ coach Frederic Grappe, who would like to see the introduction of a profile of power output for each rider.
"The power data we have, it’s confidential, because they belong to the riders, they belong to the teams," he told Reuters. “What is the point in publishing the power data because who is able to analyse it correctly? Very few people because there are so many factors to take into account - the weather, the length of the effort. Some, and I won't name them, are all wrong with it."
What Grappe would like to see is a system whereby power data would be stored and subject to expert analysis, with variations used to detect unclean performances, in a similar way to the biological passport.
"I want the riders’ power data to be stored in a server - we’ve been discussing it with the ISSUL (Institute of Sports Science of the University of Lausanne). I'm ready to do it," said Grappe.
"A special commission with experts would analyse the data - I'm for establishing a power profile for every rider in the peloton, it does not cost anything. If your power metre is well calibrated you have landmarks - the guy who has a well-established profile and beats his record by 10 per cent... you know something is wrong."