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Friday Shorts

Chris Froome’s published his VO2 max test results from August. You can get the raw stats from the lab presentation here and read the wider magazine article in Esquire here.

The Esquire story has small details like how he crashed wheeling his bike to a car wash in Monaco or how he has to hide his bike box show the life of a pro. Antoine Vayer gets an unflattering portrait. This morning’s reactions to the piece tend to say more about the person offering the comments than Froome or the data with some even venturing pre-emptive thoughts yesterday in a bid to insert themselves into the event.

I did think of drawing up a handy flowchart to explain things where the first dichotomous question would be “Is Chris Froome doping?” and people go from there as a way to make light of the way many start from a predetermined position. Sarcasm aside it’s very useful to have the extra data but it’s still selective rather than comprehensive, some snapshots rather than the storyline and the Esquire subheading of “the tests he hopes will silence the doubters forever” is rather optimistic.

The reference for rider data releases must be Thibaut Pinot who puts a lot of his rides on Strava and has released a ton of rider data, handily summarised in English by Cycle Sport magazine available as a PDF. It’s too much to hope others follow Pinot but who will follow Froome here?

Etixx-Quickstep-Lidl? Last week’s “shorts” pondered aloud how teams are allowed to have three names. As reader Rik VII pointed out in the comments it turns out that a fresh set of UCI rules have been released and from now on all teams can, if they wish, have three sponsors in their name. However a glance at the World Tour shows most teams have just one name despite the value of naming rights. Of the 18 names for 2016 only Etixx-Quickstep, Giant-Alpecin, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Soudal and Lotto-Jumbo have two names. Cannondale Pro Cycling likely to ride under the Cannondale-Garmin moniker and Orica-Greenedge are still searching for that partner.

Tinkoff go downhill: One team with a single name is Tinkoff. The squad’s future seems uncertain but they’re going into 2016 with a promising high publicity blitz in the swanky Franco-Russian ski resort of Courchevel. The team’s new jersey will be unveiled during the presentation of the FIS Women’s Ski World Cup event and Peter Sagan will ride a snow bike down the giant slalom course. Oleg Tinkov is no stranger to the place and it makes for a fun team launch in front of a wider audience rather than the traditional venues such as an out of season resort in Spain.

Tinkoff aren’t alone in visiting a ski resort. The French national team has just spent several days frolicking near the Col de l’Iseran only without a bicycle in sight. Instead it’s a “cohesion” event in order to build an esprit d’équipe ahead of the Olympics and World Championships, an answer to the problem of trying to build a team of riders who are normally rivals so Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet have been skiing together albeit briefly with Pinot rushing off to an FDJ sponsorship event and Bardet arriving late, having sat an oral exam for his masters degree. Publicity photos of the camp here.

Espresso: Today’s La Gazzetta Dello Sport says Trek Factory Racing could become Trek-Segafredo with co-sponsorship from the Italian coffee giant and possibly the team could even be named Segafredo with bike sponsorship from Trek in the future. A story to follow if only for confirmation (a year later we’re still waiting for the follow-up to La Gazzetta’s scoop that Michele Ferrari attended the Astana team camp). Segafredo’s name had been doing the rounds with faint whispers of backing Bjarne Riis in a new venture.

Dublin dodgers? Talking of team names changing the UCI announced a licence for a Pro Conti team called “Tharcor” yesterday. Try googling it and you’ll find a French campsite, Le Thar Cor and an Irish shell company and little else. Of course it’s not a new team backed by a camp site, it’s the Italian team Southeast and they’re probably using the Dublin tax dodge to save on Italian employer taxes to keep the show on the road. Back in the days when they were “Fluo Yellow” they were registered with a London address too while rivals Bardiani-CSF used Dublin. It happens elsewhere too, for example the last remaining Italian team in the World Tour, Lampre-Merida, has its official address… in Switzerland. Under the UCI rules, a team’s nationality is elective.

Sky for Sale? Could Sky lose their British owners? The Financial Times says British company Sky could be for sale. It’s only 40% owned by the Murdoch empire and James Murdoch has questioned the purpose of this minority shareholding, either he wants to take over the whole of the British venture or it could be offloaded to another media company who may well have other sponsorship and marketing objectives than a pro cycling team. All speculation and as we’ve seen with sports mad Belgian entrepreneur Marc Coucke selling his Omega Pharma business to US firm Perrigo there was a clause to keep the cycling sponsorship going for a couple more years. Loose change in any takeover.

Late points change? Back to those new UCI rules and they contain proposed changes for 2016 with red ink showing the changes for the coming year. There’s very little substantial change, largely it’s rebranding teams in the World Tour to “UCI WorldTeams” and the Women’s World Cup becomes the Women’s World Tour. One big omission is the changes to the UCI rankings. While a lot of the proposed UCI reforms, such as team licences, are due for 2017 the UCI has said a new points system is coming and that “details of the reformed system will be finalised in advance of the 2016 season” but confusingly the 2016 rulebook states the rankings system is for 2015. The UCI tried to change the rankings for 2015 by slipping out an update inside a PDF on their website a fortnight before the Tour Down Under but this angered teams with with LottoNL-Jumbo team boss Richard Plugge saying “you can’t change the rules suddenly in January”. Can we expect a sudden rule change in December then?

Eight year bans: the UCI updated its list of banned dopers last night including some riders with eight year bans, those who have been caught before and now for a second time face eight years out. Four years is career ending for most.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • RonDe Friday, 4 December 2015, 12:35 pm

    Froome is to applauded for putting ANY data out there. When Quintana, Contador, Valverde, Nibali, Aru, etc., do the same then people, in my view, can rightly take pot shots at whoever they like. To my mind Froome is setting an example here and deserves better than to be shot down for it – especially when similar riders don’t do the same.

    PS Antoine Vayer is a total clown more interested in his own ego and inserting himself into the story than “anti-doping”. The fact Froome is the only guy he ever talks about is proof enough of this.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 4 December 2015, 12:52 pm

      The irony is that Vayer’s provocations have led/contributed to this.

    • Turnip Friday, 4 December 2015, 1:19 pm

      Vayer focuses on Froome it’s true, but he does raise an eyebrow and comment on many other suspicious performances and to claim that he doesn’t is slightly disingenuous.

      • Bilmo Friday, 4 December 2015, 1:34 pm

        I don’t know a lot about Vayer and as Inrng notes the article is not out to paint him in a good light. However he seems to be clutching a straws. To criticise cheering during the VO2 max test seems desperate. I have never done a test but when ever they are shown on TV you see the testers shouting encouragement.
        From his twitter I also see he is now pushing the motor in the bike as the reason for Froome’s performances.
        In the end I see this release of data a positive step. Its not the silver bullet but a start and I hope to see more riders do something similar (or as much as Pinot – thanks Inrng for the link to that.)

        • RonDe Friday, 4 December 2015, 2:08 pm

          Vayer IS desperate. He has now staked his entire credibility (in my mind he had none to start with anyway) on Froome being a cheat. If Vayer can’t find physical data to back it up he turns to the bike as the source of the advantage. If and when that is proven stupid he’ll find something else.

          The man is a clown, pure and simple, the absolute antithesis of reasoned and sensible doubt.

          • DMC Friday, 4 December 2015, 2:55 pm

            Agreed, good on Froome for doing this.

            It is a very selective bit of information though and doesn’t really show was his watt/kg ratio would be at the Tour, or close to the Tour build-up. His put his 20-40min sustainable power at 419 watts, but wouldn’t his Tour numbers be much higher? This test was performed well after the Tour when he would have lost his peak form.

          • BenW Friday, 4 December 2015, 3:06 pm

            DMC,

            Pretty sure the stuff I read extrapolated the power numbers to those he’d produce when race-trim 67kg rather than 69.9.

          • Anonymous Friday, 4 December 2015, 3:57 pm

            Ben, they extrapolated his WEIGHT, not his power.

            His sustainable power at the time of the test was 419 watts for 20-40 minutes. My question is, what would his sustainable power be at his absolute peak performance, for example during the mountain stages in July. Doesn’t an athlete’s threshold power drop once they’re past their peak in the season?

          • DMC Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:09 pm

            PS. “Anonymous” was me, DMC, sorry.

          • BenW Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:19 pm

            DMC,

            I based my comment on the following (couldn’t remember where I’d read it until now)

            “The direct comparison between Froome’s figures in 2007 and the various tranches of data released this year make reassuring reading for those who want to believe in the Team Sky leader, in that there is a correlation between most of the figures on show. In 2007, Froome’s sustained power output is recorded at 420 watts, giving him a power-weight ratio of 5.56 watts per kilogramme due to his higher weight.

            On 14 July this year, his average power output over 41 minutes climbing to the La Pierre-Saint-Martin ski station in the Pyrenees was 414 watts, before adjustment for the fact that the Stages Powercranks on which Sky record performance tend to over-record by around 6% when used in conjunction with the ovalised cranks ridden by the team, a fact the Guardian verified with the manufacturers after the figures were released by Sky’s Head of Performance, Tim Kerrison.

            Two days later, Froome’s unadjusted average power at the Plateau de Beille ascent was 414 watts again. His sustained power output recorded in the GSK test was 419 watts, which again seems consistent. His power-weight ratio in the GSK test, if adjusted to take account of his lower weight during the Tour, would be around 6.2 watts per kilo, which ties in with tests done for another Tour winner in recent years about whom no questions have been raised”

            Courtesy of William Fotheringham in the Guardian here in the UK.
            http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/dec/04/team-sky-chris-froome-cycling

            So in short they’d worked out W/Kg for the lower weight and it tied in. I don’t know enough about peaks and all that to comment on how they behave, though. As for said tour winner, Cadel?

          • DMC Friday, 4 December 2015, 5:17 pm

            Excellent, thanks for looking that up. It’s something I wasn’t sure about.

          • Sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:16 pm

            BenW, the other Tour winner referred to by Fotheringham is Wiggins, I suspect. Having worked with him on Guardian columns over the years, plus the My Time and My Hour books, Fotheringham knows more details about Wiggins than any other writer.

          • DMC Sunday, 6 December 2015, 8:06 am

            BenW – question: Reports that the Froome test at 20-40 minutes of sustainable power only had him at a 17 out of 20 rate of perceived effort, and a 138 bpm heart rate… if that’s true, that can’t be his lactate threshold. If so that means his power to weight number is 6.2 at a level WELL BELOW Aerobic Threshold.

            If so, what’s his power to weight ratio at his aerobic threshold? That’s the only relevant number. Power to weight at 138bpm doesn’t really matter…

          • BenW Monday, 7 December 2015, 10:15 am

            Sam,

            I did think maybe Wiggins but it was the “about whom no questions have been raised” bit that threw me – presumably he’s (perhaps rightly in many instances) ignoring The Clinic residents and their ilk, as well as all the speculation during 2012. That’s all that got me thinking of Cadel.

  • MultiplexRant Friday, 4 December 2015, 12:48 pm

    Great piece as ever.

    Should be ‘lose’ instead of ‘loose’ in the Sky bit

  • Larrick Friday, 4 December 2015, 1:18 pm

    One of the more interesting data points is Froomes’ weight differential between 2007 and his 2015 TdF win.

    Let’s hope Carlos Betancur has taken note and his travails of the last couple of years are behind him.

    • DMC Friday, 4 December 2015, 2:28 pm

      Agreed – if Carlos Betancur gets his weight down he’ll be a scary fast rider. 20th place in the 2015 giro while pretty heavy…

  • Sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 1:43 pm

    I’m particularly amused by Vayer being outed as a PE teacher (which some but not everyone was aware off), of 12-16 yo girls at a school in Brittany. I understand that his ‘lab’ of which he speaks and which he cries is the only credible place Froome should have gone for tests, will be ready just as soon as he’s cleared out the broken hockey sticks and tennis rackets, punctured netballs, and that old gym kit bag one of Year 10 left behind in the changing room

    • channel_zero Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 7:29 pm

      Sam,

      Don’t kid yourself. That’s about average for cycling.

  • gabriele Friday, 4 December 2015, 2:32 pm

    That was some 4 days before the Vuelta started, wasn’t it?

  • J Evans Friday, 4 December 2015, 3:24 pm

    Vayer is not a scientist and should be ignored.
    Froome carrying an extra 3kg at the Vuelta shows how seriously he wants to win it – I don’t understand this attitude, nor the money-grabbing attendance of criteriums (criteria?): if you already have millions, why give up a potential grand tour victory for another few hundred grand?
    The science here is far from complete, but is still far more than almost anyone else has done.
    As for Froome ‘suddenly’ becoming a grand tour contender at the Vuelta 2011, perhaps he just knuckled down, lost a lot of weight and did it all properly. Wiggins said he did much the same thing himself following the 2010 TdF.
    There’s no proof here, either way, but there was never going to be.

    • gabriele Friday, 4 December 2015, 3:55 pm

      Not entering in the more general debate (if anything, I just hope that some people with a scientific attitude *and* a bit of free time would give a look to the Vuelta performances, since finlly we’ve got a reliable reference, about Froome at least)…

      I’d just reply to what you say that the problem with Froome’s 2011 is precisely that adverb. Wasn’t that sudden enough for you?

      He was filing one inglorious performance after the other in May, June, July, August… even a mere two week before the Vuelta started! (five days before if you include his 118th place in the London Surrey Cycle Classic, but being a one-day race I wouldn’t really count it).
      If you’re losing some weight while keeping your power, you really can’t avoid gettin’ better, even if you don’t even try.
      We’re speaking of struggling to make the final top 50 in the GC of minor stage races (the Brixia Tour!) month after month, finally showing up in your last tune up race before the Vuelta (Tour de Pologne) without ever making a top 50 in the daily classification of any stage, and subsequently ending up in the 85th place of the final GC.
      It’s not like avoiding to push yourself hard, it’s like we must imagine him making a complex and deliberate effort to *go slow*.
      To get some term of comparison, have a look to another rider who has been criticised for not showing up with a decent form in previous stage races which are used just as sort of a preparation, that is, Nibali in his 2014-2015 editions… in 2015 he had placed in the various final GCs from February on, towards the Tour: 39 – 20 – 16 – 10 – 12. In 2014, that was: 44 – 17 – 12 – 21 – 5 – 7.

      • Larry T. Friday, 4 December 2015, 5:08 pm

        Always makes you wonder when a guy who seems unable to get out of his own way suddenly starts winning. BigTex was pretty much nothing in stage races until TdF ’99 and we know how that happened. Sadly, Froome can’t prove a negative but I can’t shake the feeling some of these guys have 100% confidence in the security of their performance due to the use of some method that is, while totally unethical, currently not banned because it’s pretty much unknown. When/if the method is discovered and tests developed to detect it, the prize money will have been long spent and with a wry smile, the cheaters can say, “Well, it wasn’t against the rules at the time, so how can you say I cheated?”
        Great to hear rumors about Segafredo, the biggest private coffee company in the industry being interested in cycling. I just hope it doesn’t turn out like Giancarlo Ferretti’s SONY/Ericsson fiasco. I’ve never much liked their espresso but I’d give it another try if they sponsored a cycling team – even one on Trek bikes!!!! 🙂

        • dave Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:31 pm

          “I can’t shake the feeling some of these guys have 100% confidence in the security of their performance due to the use of some method that is, while totally unethical, currently not banned because it’s pretty much unknown”

          Interesting that Froome specifically addresses this in the Esquire article,

          “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.”

          And this is consistent with the podium speech for his first win where he said something along the lines of “this jersey will stand the test of time”.

          It doesn’t prove he is clean, but he has stuck his neck out and addressed an issue I’ve not heard riders cover before.

          Personally I think that there is so much more collateral damage from a genuine Sky positive by a current, competing rider than there are for many other teams. A proven-dirty Sky destroys Brailsford, which then taints the entire British Cycling programme for the last decade and the likes of Hoy, Pendleton etc with it.

      • DV Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:26 pm

        The sudden improvement in his results is what makes most of us even a little uncomfortable, I think we all want to know how that happened. That being said, the common accusation is of a team wide use of physical or mechanical performance enhancement so why would they have picked Froome when there were riders of a “finer” pedigree and frankly more appealing in terms of nationality/upbringing? Doesn’t make sense to me.

        I don’t know if he really is or really isn’t and until a whistle blower a la Swart, O’Reilly or Andreu pops up, I’m going to take it at face value whilst remaining vigilant as cycling fans always should be.

        • Anonymous Friday, 4 December 2015, 7:54 pm

          I believe that there are a number of reasons to pick Froome over another (assuming cheating).

          1. Money; I believe that Froome started with a lot more money behind him privately than most of the rest in the peloton. Doping, and I imagine the next big thing in cheating, is very expensive.

          2. Ambivalent ethics. To be perennially at the top you have to be absolutely immoral.

          3. DESIRE and DISCIPLINE. Not everybody has what it takes to focus. Cheating successfully is not easy. It takes dedication, discipline and probably more hard work than not doping. Doping (or whatever is winning now) is not just catching a tow when no one else is looking. Those that believe Wiggins doped, have also got to consider that he may not have had the desire to continue. Or, that his morals may have gotten the better of him, literally.

          Assuming absolutely moral and clean, a champion has to be a driven and genetic freak.

          • sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:12 pm

            ‘Doping….is very expensive’

            Um, no. Tendency to read the USADA report & The Secret Race and take your lead from that re the cost of doping, is erroneous.

            Want to sign up Ferrari as your exclusive doping man, providing essential services to you and your lieutenants, and not to provide similar service to your rivals? Sure. $$$$$

            Want to buy some EPO off the internet? Price of a lunch in Nice.

            I cant be bothered with the rest of your points. They’re too funny.

          • Anonymous Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:25 pm

            get your head out of the ‘nineties… EPO is not what successful cheating looks like today.

          • sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:30 pm

            ah right, well when you have time pls do educate us all on the costs of a ‘modern’ cheating program, plus details of what that looks like

            Ta.

          • RonDe Saturday, 5 December 2015, 2:41 am

            “To be perennially at the top you have to be absolutely immoral.”

            With fans like this who needs enemies of the sport?

          • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 12:30 pm

            Fan, short for Fanatic: a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics. (or sports)

          • DV Sunday, 6 December 2015, 12:58 pm

            The only point supported by any evidence is 3 and again he is by no means unique in this.

      • hoh Friday, 4 December 2015, 7:19 pm

        Well, he was a domestique (and a low ranking one at that), whose job description was to go out of way to be slow once you’ve done your job for your team leader. Nibali on the other hand was team leader all along.

        • gabriele Friday, 4 December 2015, 9:23 pm

          Which – being his captains in some of those races sprinters like Swift or Appollonio (yeah, *that* Appollonio) – shouldn’t have prevented him from putting in some vaguely decent performance in those stages where his captains hadn’t any chance at all from scratch. He couldn’t make a top 20 nor in Pologne nor in Brixia Tour. No captain had apparently been appointed for Pologne.
          In the TdS, he could indeed make at least a stage top-ten (9th) in the last ITT, which would make you think he was trying hard, albeit coming in well behind the 22 yrs old Oliveira or Fuglsang, and a few seconds before Frank or Monfort. A couple of months later, everything was different in the Vuelta ITT.
          Other gregari in Sky could make some top-ten in final GC from time to time…
          But I won’t insist further on this. Besides, peculiarity happens, so you can take it as such if you please.

          • Davide Saturday, 5 December 2015, 12:16 am

            (yeah, *that* gabriele) – smear it thick and smear it as wide as you like – just make sure you smear it.

          • gabriele Saturday, 5 December 2015, 1:11 am

            Yes, “Davide”, it’s a pity that a fine rider, perhaps not the most winning one but however a guy who could collect a nice number of top-ten placings every year, WT races included, had to be busted for EPO during one of his worse seasons to date, after spending the previous part of his career in the ranks of notorious adversaries of the pharmaceutical mispractice (well, I include Ag2R since they’re French, and the French, you know, they’re all clean as such). He arguably had his best year in Sky, during that 2011. So it goes, I guess.

      • McNik787 Sunday, 6 December 2015, 8:19 am

        Not judging either way, but I thought I’d read that the power had always been there and the main reason for the “breakthrough” was that he’d discovered that he was riddled with bilharzia (and had been for a long time) which was destroying his red blood cells. He received treatment in the summer before the Vuelta which allowed him to ride to his numbers consistently for the first time. Still gutted he didn’t win that Vuelta. Riding for wiggo cost him it (but I understand why he was).

    • Sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 3:58 pm

      I have no idea whether Froome is on the juice or not – gotta say that first – but the thing about Wiggins is 1. he came 4th, then later 3rd spot, at the 2009 Tour. Then later he started the process in Oct 2010 at Sky that took him 21 months later to the top step of the 2012 Tour, and in those 21 months, the progression was clear: 3rd at 2011 P-R, won the 2011 Dauphine, won TTs along the way, 3rd 2011 Vuelta, silver medal 2011 Worlds TT, leading up to his dominant 2012 season.

      With Froome, it was mid-pack stuff all along, and then boom, outclimbing everyone and out-TTing everyone bar Martin but inc Wiggins and Fabs, at the 2011 Vuelta. A race that he wasnt even originally lined up to do, and which he started on the basis of facing the sack from Sky.

      And that’s a biggie for some people to take on trust. Whatever these test results.

      • noel Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:22 pm

        what is the timeline on his bilharzia problems? – I’ve heard it explained as a kind of inverse EPO (ie it kills off red blood cells rather than multiplies them – pls don’t shoot me, I have no idea if that makes any kind of scientific sense). Could that be a plausible explanation for the pheonix-like rise?

        • Sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:33 pm

          Well, if one’s going to look dispassionately at things, the bilharzia story an odd one for a number of reasons. Not least of which is that the very first time it is mentioned anywhere is after his 2011 Vuelta, despite the fact he’d been diagnosed with it for almost a year. No mention of it in any interviews in all that time.

          Look, what we have here is a very very unusual back story. And part of the problem is that in a post-USADA report world, very very unusual is not comfortable.

          • hoh Friday, 4 December 2015, 7:31 pm

            That said, you’d need to consider the fact that no one would want to interview him pre-2011 Vuelta. Even nowadays, Journalists would rather go to G Thomas for funny quotes. Maybe as Kimmerage put it, he’s nice. Actually he’s too nice for modern day audiences.

          • sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 7:42 pm

            On the contrary, examples inc a Velonation interview, Jun 2011.

            Or velouk in the early days of that Vuelta:
            http://www.velouk.net/2011/08/23/wiggin%E2%80%99s-mountain-man-chris-froome

          • Anonymous Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:04 pm

            IFRC, the Bilharzia story is also odd in that, when it did become part of the narrative, Froome had a very light grasp of the facts of the parasitic disease and, I believe, most of his statements didn’t add up. Wasn’t there a doctor with first hand knowledge that published an article that disproved Froome’s version?

          • JaseCD Saturday, 5 December 2015, 12:32 pm

            Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) can cause, amongst other symptoms, a large increase in white blood cells (which would logically mean a reduced hematocrit) and pulmonary hypertension – both of which could be pretty damaging for an endurance athlete.

            Why depresses me about a lot of the comments on here is that there is no proof for Froome doping, only speculation by pseudo scientists and ex-dopers. Whenever an explanation is offered it is considered as deceitful or subterfuge rather than considered on it’s merits. I completely understand the suspicion given the sports past, but for me part of enjoying sport is believing in the performances – I would far rather take something at face value and be disappointed later than be eternally cynical just so my ego is flattered on the odd occasion I am proved correct.

            I’ll continue to believe in him and his results until there is proof that he is a cheat.

        • ave Sunday, 6 December 2015, 3:31 am

          He had about the same power in the 2007 test, didn’t he? So he did not get any stronger since he was cured, he just got lighter.
          Bilharzia seems to have no effect on him. 🙂

          • McNik787 Sunday, 6 December 2015, 8:24 am

            I think it affects over a longer period and shouldn’t affect power but does affect recovery and increases fatigue.

      • Chris James Friday, 4 December 2015, 5:17 pm

        Yes, but equally before 2009, and Wiggins’ 3rd in the tour, the best he had placed was what, 66th in the 2009 Giro?

        I’ve had a quick look back and it isn’t clear what his best results had been as he was so far off the lead in all the stage races he had completed in.

        • Beth Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:06 pm

          He was pretty busy winning 3 Olympic gold medals and 6 world championships on the track.

          • channel_zero Friday, 4 December 2015, 7:08 pm

            In the history of cycling, how many riders go from track to grand tour champion? How many great track riders go on to win road events? Many.

            Do I “know” Wiggo doped? No. Are there an abundance of doubts, like Froome? Yes.

        • DMC Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:11 pm

          Beth – agreed, Wiggins has always been a top-level rider, so his build up just shows that in 2009 he changed his focus. Wiggins didn’t come out of nowhere at all.

          • Sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:19 pm

            Something which his winning of the queen stage of Tour de l’Avenir in 2005 can back up.

          • DV Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:35 pm

            Indeed not but to be fair to Froome, he didn’t exactly have the same support through British Cycling from an early age.

    • BenW Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:09 pm

      Missing Criteria would just give fans all the more reason to hate him.

    • J Evans Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:33 pm

      Gabriele, Sam, I agree with both of you – that’s why I’m firmly in the ‘don’t know’ camp.

  • BC Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:08 pm

    Good for Froome. The data is far from complete, but at least it’s in the public domain. One has to hope this example is just a start, and the trend will be for others to follow suit, and maybe expand the data set.

    Nothing is going to convince everybody, including me, after all that has gone before that everything is now perfect – that would be an unrealistic expectation. But, the new attitude and openness this information release illustrates, can only be good for the sport.

  • Sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:10 pm

    Gabriele, as you specifically mention the Surrey race in 2011 in terms of lacklustre performances: that particular race was actually the try-out for the 2012 Olympic RR route. He rode for Team England, for whom that race was all about setting the sprint up for Cav on the Mall.

    He was toot in other races obvs

    • gabriele Friday, 4 December 2015, 9:32 pm

      Yeah, didn’t remember. However, as I wrote, I mentioned it… not to mention it. I felt the need to name that only because it was the last race just before the Vuelta started. Being a one-day race, it couldn’t prove much anyway and it’s hard to understand where race dynamics can bring you in such a competition.

  • SArover Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:53 pm

    I don’t know what to make of most of the data coming out whether by fans, critics or Froome himself.

    I just know that the winners of the last 6 GT’s, except Froome, all won the young rider jersey. Thus not suddenly great.

    The suddenness of Froome’s rise is what draws suspension.

    PS. In his interview with Kimmage he says that his Red blood cell level didn’t drop during the Bilharzia phase. Wife, Michelle tries to correct him, but he sticks to that comment in the interview.

    • Kurious Oranj Sunday, 6 December 2015, 7:10 am

      On the other hand Contador won the young rider jersey and the yellow same year, then got busted for doping a few years later – perhaps the other riders were simply doping earlier? Who knows, it’s not like there’s any real evidence involved.

  • SArover Friday, 4 December 2015, 4:54 pm

    Well I meant suspicion

  • euro Friday, 4 December 2015, 5:56 pm

    Who are we kidding-they are ALL doping at the pro level.

    • RonDe Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:10 pm

      Well for those who believe that it certainly makes the ethics a lot simpler. But I am always suspicious of those who don’t want to do the hard work of thinking and demonstrating with evidence. And that tends to make me think such people aren’t really committed to the sport as fans or as anything else.

      • Anonymous Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:14 pm

        There is no “hard work and demonstrating with evidence” that can support either camp at this time. If the people who would just like to know the truth are lucky, eventually someone with a bit of a conscience (or an axe to grind) will spill the beans. Until then, any punter’s opinion is uneducated at best.

        Committing to any sport while ignoring the fact that a very large number of professional athletes have been caught cheating, is a bit naive.

        • RonDe Saturday, 5 December 2015, 2:46 am

          What’s naive is the idea that “everybody’s cheating”. And its lazy as well. Prove people cheat. Don’t assume people cheat.

          • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 12:38 pm

            It Has been proven Many times that professional athletes cheat. And the mantra of a large percentage of those athletes that have been caught has been “I had to cheat in order to be competitive against everybody else, who are cheating.”

            There are people who are paid to try to prove that people are cheating, but there are more people who are paid more to help people to cheat and not get caught.

    • channel_zero Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:51 pm

      If you assume everyone, then you start down some poor policy paths.

      We know things changed for the better for a while because we saw very young athletes in the top-10 at WT events again. At the same time, Cookson has made anti-doping more secretive to prevent another “Armstrong situation.”

      We only have little clues to work with given the cloak of secrecy in which the UCI operates.

    • Kevin Saturday, 5 December 2015, 1:25 am

      I don’t much care about froze but I invite you to step up to the cannondale/garmin team bus this year and share your opinion with Phil Gaimon or Mike Woods, maybe afterwards over to bmc for a chat with Phinney.

      Just because you can’t fathom riding clean at that level doesn’t mean you can or should damn and slander those who do.

      • euro Saturday, 5 December 2015, 5:33 pm

        Funny you happen to mention Taylor Phinney. He happened to jump on me on Twitter a couple months back for questioning why he was riding George Hincapie’s Fondo here in the States. He said that Hincapie is “one of his best friends”. Kind of odd coming from a young guy who is supposed to be riding clean, to be hanging around with a convicted and admitted lifelong doper, isn’t it?

        • BenW Monday, 7 December 2015, 1:09 pm

          Who are you to tell someone who they should be friends with?

        • DMC Monday, 7 December 2015, 3:03 pm

          Agreed. George Hincapie won’t be the last good man/woman to have made huge mistakes in his life. Of course, the mistakes are huge, but isn’t the goal that Phinney learns from Hincapie’s mistakes?

          Have you ever had a friend/family member/person you admire who’s perfect? Are you perfect? If you’re that judgemental… then you’re definitely not perfect. Eat it.

        • DMC Monday, 7 December 2015, 3:04 pm

          BTW – you say “convicted” like he’s a felon. Did he kill someone or something?

    • PaulG Saturday, 5 December 2015, 10:51 am

      So that’s fine then…level playing field it is……equal for everyone……What are we worried about…..

      If “they are ALL doping at the pro level” then it comes down to who is the ‘Best’, ‘Fastest’, ‘Strongest’ rider……No different to No Doping at the pro level……

      • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 1:01 pm

        You are not the first person to propose this. I think Bodde Miller for one, the World Champion ski racer, suggested the same thing back in the ’90s or early ’00s.

        But, I don’t think it’s as simple a solution as it looks. An athletic competition between absolutely clean athletes is a competition of genetics, upbringing, training and mental ability. When you add in doping, you add a facet similar to the equipment constructor in motor sports or sailing as well as the possibility that some bodies benefit more than others to equal amounts of doping.

        Of course, no rules at all, just “whoever crosses the line first wins”, would be easier and cheaper to police and would certainly be a spectacle. At least until our senses dulled.

      • J Evans Saturday, 5 December 2015, 2:55 pm

        The playing field is never level. For it to be level:
        – every rider would have to be on exactly the same drugs
        – at the same doses
        – taken to the same regime
        – with the doses adjusted to bodyweight.
        This could never be achieved.
        And even if it could, it wouldn’t be a level playing field, because different people react to different drugs in different ways.
        These are pharmacological facts seen in all drug research.
        And that’s before you factor in the most important matter: the health of the people involved.
        There are a lot of good points on this page – none of them are from people who are seeing the situation in absolute black or white: that’s just people making it easier on themselves – and has nothing to do with facts.

  • Alan Cote Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:24 pm

    About the UCI sanctions & provisional suspensions lists — Tom Danielson’s name is not on either. I don’t know how national vs. international procedures on this work, but it seems odd that after a positive A-sample (and B as well?) that his name isn’t there.

    • sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 7:37 pm

      Provisional suspensions dont make the list. Only once the full process involving the B sample (if requested by the athlete) – if a AAF – and then the hearing and decision from the sanctioning body (henceforth the UCI) have been handed down.

      • Alan Cote Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:23 pm

        The description on the UCI website reads: “This table lists the license-holders currently serving a provisional suspension as a consequence of a potential or asserted anti-doping rule violation, over which the UCI has result management authority.” I guess the UCI doesn’t have “result management authority” over the Danielson case. If so, the UCI’s provisional suspension list is an incomplete list of cyclists who are provisionally suspended.

        • sam Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:28 pm

          I think you may have found a typo/error!

  • XNight Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:32 pm

    Regarding Froome’s 2011 breakthrough.
    He had signed for Sky in 2010, so would have had 12 months + of top level training and support during that time?
    Now I don’t want to be naive, nor equally cynical, but there are many examples in other sports where talented individuals are signed to a high level team out of semi / obscurity and rise to stardom very quickly thereafter.
    This is a constant theme in many sports going back decades.
    Sure, talented youngsters can become tomorrow’s stars but most fall by the wayside and nothing is said of this. There does not have to be a set career path to follow and in Froome’s case that would have been virtually impossible anyway – Youth Giro De Kenya Winner seven years on the trot!?
    What was the guy supposed to achieve out in the cycling backwaters that would have satisfied you?

    • channel_zero Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:55 pm

      Except, cycling without modern PED’s is very simple to distinguish national/international talent from the rest. You either have “the engine” or not.

      If Froome was such an organic grand tour talent, he would have swept everything up in lower ranked events. That didn’t happen.

      • XNight Friday, 4 December 2015, 7:52 pm

        But was not Froome’s starting point so much lower than the rest?
        You could legitimately make the talent point if he had cycled through the established European Junior ranks. How could he show usual career progress when he’s come out of an unusual cycling background?

      • XNight Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:13 pm

        He joined Barloworld in 2008, the same year as the death of his mother.
        Re-locating away from his home to another Continent, dire personal circumstances. Come on, what do people expect here?
        The guy was 23 years old, a kid really, and he handled all this.
        I am absolutely no Sky Boy or whatever but I am just staggered by peoples expectations.

        • channel_zero Saturday, 5 December 2015, 4:47 pm

          XNight,

          Sorry, but, again, if he had the engine in a “lower starting point/unusual cycling background” he would have won basically everything from his region. He would have walked onto Barloworld and dominated most races. That didn’t happen.

          Instead, he suddenly finishes a grand tour on the podium like a lightning strike. Here’s another rider who finishes mid-pack except for sudden shifts in performance. We’ve seen that before with the introduction of EPO.

          Do I “know” Froome is doping? No. We know the UCI protects riders by never testing positive athletes they consider valuable to their brand.

          Fundamentally, his performances do not resemble those of a clean rider and the UCI is not a source of confidence.

          • ArgyllFlyer Saturday, 5 December 2015, 8:52 pm

            He had no race craft and the races in Africa were much shorter – he basically was a 15 year old kid in a 23 yr old’s body, racing with people with far more experience than him.

          • channel_zero Monday, 7 December 2015, 6:05 pm

            ArgyllFlyer,

            If your claim was true and he’s been a grand tour contender all along, then winning regional and national races would have been no problem. Like solo wins no problem.

            And then there’s the fact he was tested by the UCI in Agile at some point like others in their development system. If he was something special then, they would have seen it. None of that happened.

            Sorry. The guy is dodgy.

          • Anonymous Monday, 7 December 2015, 6:10 pm

            To quote you above: ‘Do I “know” Froome is doping? No.’
            Says it all.

    • gabriele Friday, 4 December 2015, 9:56 pm

      XNight, as it has been explained above it’s all about the sudden change in a couple of weeks time during that same 2011 without previous signs of progress. It’s not like a videogame where you suddenly buy some “special skill”: you usually get better and better.

      About what you say below… that’s not my point and it would indeed need more insight, but, at the end of the day, he raced with Barloworld a full 2008 and 2009, then he spent nearly two years in Sky before his fabulous Vuelta. However bad Corti’s management skills may have proven meanwhile, nevertheless we’re speaking of racing a full calendar of top races (including a whole TdF)… and Corti couldn’t prevent other fine riders from shining, sometimes, despite the context. Impey, Soler, Augustyn came in Barloworld with pretty no background and could find their own pro way during those years (through horrible crashes, all of them 0__0). Same might be said for the ill-fated Team Colombia: even if the management was apparently terrible, all the same, talent shone through in the case of Chaves, Atapuma, Pantano, Duarte… they all were more or less able to achieve *something* even if they just arrived from a whole different environment only to find himself in a not-so-inspiring team.

      • XNight Saturday, 5 December 2015, 12:27 am

        Those are not good comparisons Gabriele.
        The Colombians are a case apart, see –
        http://inrng.com/2013/04/colombia-cycling-altitude/

        Soler recorded DNF’s in his 2008 and 09 Grand Tours, Impey did not start a GT in this time, and Augustyn’s star tailed off the other way in 2009 after a very bright 2008.

        Froome’s palmares has, from the start, been tailored towards GT and TT and, I believe, shows credible progression given his age and background. It could be argued that late 2010 was the breakthrough after injury in the Giro, and that his 2011 Vuelta success came almost a year later.
        Wkipedia (which you’re familiar with 😉 ) notes that Froome has also released test data from 2007, with his recent test, and the results are comparable.

        • gabriele Saturday, 5 December 2015, 2:08 am

          They’re not comparisons.
          They’re examples to show how it’s hard to deny that Froome was having several years of “true” professional cycling in top European races well before late 2011: EVEN IF his first years were spent in a team whose management was far from ideal, nevertheless that kind of context hasn’t prevented several more or less talented riders from expressing glimpses of the talents they possessed, although they were coming from environments well different from the European one.
          I can’t see how the information you report above changes anything of this.
          I acknowledge that the fact that are people were succeeding in showing some of their skills doesn’t mean that Froome was necessarily due to achieve the same.
          Still, what usually happens in cycling is that talented riders, especially *very* talented riders, do prove themselves as such, at least two or three times over their “first” years as pros, however different their origin, however peculiar their mentality and however inadequate their team. That wasn’t exactly the case for Froome. We must look back through results archives to try and remember something that could have a meaning… barely a couple of podia here and there. However, that’s open to debate, 2011 in itself is the strangest thing.

          • XNight Saturday, 5 December 2015, 7:45 am

            Froome’s career is atypical, I would argue.
            He emerged out of an atypical cycling background and from the outset of his pro career has focused on a GT in every season. That is unusual for a young rider.
            His 2008 season saw him complete a TdF at the first attempt. He only raced 65 x days that year, 21 of which were at the Tour.
            This pattern is followed almost every year. His mean average racing days per season is 66, which include a GT every year.
            2011 was indeed unusual ; no one day races at all, just stage races in a build-up to the late season Vuelta.

            I am not a Froome apologist. But his career path has been atypical.
            Very few one dayers as a whole, and largely a GT focus from his first full year with relatively less racing days than other riders.
            Who knows what his early palmares would be like if he had come out of a typical European cycling background?

          • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 11:50 am

            XNight, you’re clear on your arguments for Froome

            Gabriel’s and I have both explained why his progression raises eyebrows and doubts for many.

            And that #boom at the 2011 Vuelta – which no one, not even his team saw any hint of coming, and him facing being sacked – is a sticking point. And you either buy it or it raises doubts. That’s it really.

          • J Evans Saturday, 5 December 2015, 3:03 pm

            Genuine question: is there anything Froome could take that would cause the sudden change in his form in a couple of weeks before the Vuelta?
            And could this be done without the likelihood of him being caught: either by the authorities or his team?
            I don’t know, but I would have thought that such doping required to achieve this would surely be noticeable by his team. Ergo, if we think that happened, do we have to assume that his team were complicit, at best?

          • XNight Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:46 pm

            Perhaps the final word on the 2011 saga is best left to our esteemed blogger – http://inrng.com/2011/08/chris-froome-vuelta-leader/

            Non-commital or sensible appraisal as you may interpret, but at least with some context and objectivity..

          • channel_zero Monday, 7 December 2015, 6:13 pm

            J Evans,

            EPO or transfusions. It’s estimated that EPO use is actually down for unknown reasons. We have some proof of this because very young riders are rejoining the top-10 at grand tours with a history of excellent lower-tier results.

            EPO is kind of old technology now. As peptides have taken the place of old fashioned steroids, so too I imagine an epo-like peptide is near. Also, it’s very well understood a very popular peptide combination is in the wild with no known test that leads to very low weight while maintaining extraordinary power.

          • J Evans Monday, 7 December 2015, 10:45 pm

            channel_zero, as per my original point, if one assumes this kind of doping by Froome don’t you also have to assume that his team would notice this?
            And what is this: ‘a very popular peptide combination is in the wild with no known test that leads to very low weight while maintaining extraordinary power’?

          • channel_zero Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 7:40 pm

            J Evans,

            IGF1-lr3, possibly moving onto IGF-1 DES to keep the half life down. My understanding is, it is used with a GHRP.

        • J Evans Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 12:37 am

          Thanks c_z – certainly puts paid to the oft-touted idea that riders should just be allowed to take whatever: EPO might (and only might) turn out to have no long-term effects, but that’s unlikely to be the case with IGF.

          • Scott Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 10:17 pm

            To Sam:

            Without contesting any of your other points – in 2011 Froome was facing his contract-not-being-renewed, not “being sacked”.

            Using the word Sacked obviously helps with your emphasis of the sudden change, but your arguments are based on laying out the facts of his career and scrutinising them.
            Don’t twist the facts to fit your point of view. It harms your argument.

  • channel_zero Friday, 4 December 2015, 6:44 pm

    It’s too much to hope others follow Pinot

    Which is why the sport will remain a minor sport as well regarded as boxing.

    Publishing most data, quickly, is actually the way forward if the sport actually wanted to establish some credibility the race on any given road is legitimate.

    • Bern Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:01 pm

      Interesting hypothesis – everyone publish everything, eventually we all get bored with it and finally we just ignore it and get on with enjoying the sport…

      • channel_zero Saturday, 5 December 2015, 4:55 pm

        Well, I’d argue most would ignore the data any way. But, there are a few who would not. It would be relatively easy to identify outliers. And human performance scientists would definitely welcome the data.

        How is cycling supposed to attract new viewers if the common wisdom is the sport cannot be trusted as a sport?

    • Anonymous Friday, 4 December 2015, 8:21 pm

      It’s a minor sport because it’s a bit boring and time consuming to watch in it’s entirety; it’s tactical nuance is too complicated for the casual observer and cycling as a competitive sport is not supported in most of the worlds school systems.

      • Othersteve Friday, 4 December 2015, 11:39 pm

        It’s a minor sport because it is so difficult for enterprises to monetize!

        Thanks INRG

      • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 3:17 pm

        ‘it’s a bit boring and time consuming to watch in it’s entirety’ – are you on the wrong website?

        • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 4:24 pm

          how many races or stages have you watched, beginning to end, in their entirety?

          Ask a non cycling friend to sit through Dubai or Qatar and see how long they last.

          There’s even an argument that the sport is getting dumbed down to make it more appealing to people that don’t understand it. Say, the Worlds as a loop, for example. A lot more people will stand around with a beer if they get to watch something go by more than once..

          • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 4:41 pm

            Generally speaking, I watch as much as they show.
            The most exciting parts of a cycle race are often not near the end of the race.
            People who don’t understand that are probably not fans of cycling – and are never going to be.
            Thing is, this is – I’ve always assumed – a website for people who like cycling.
            I imagine that those people – like me – don’t find it boring to watch in its entirety.
            Inevitably, people who are not interested in cycling would not sit through a cycle race. Not sure what your point is there.
            I wouldn’t sit through a football match and there’s nothing they could do to football to make me do so. It would be pointless to try. It is similarly pointless trying to force people to be interested in cycling. For instance, I would also not be more likely to watch football if they showed 15 minutes of highlights from a match.
            As for Dubai or Qatar, I don’t think many cycling fans would choose to sit through much of those races. The same cannot be said of, say, the Ronde.

          • Vitus Sunday, 6 December 2015, 11:30 am

            Well, Dubai or Qatar stages are things even a die hard cycling fan hardly ever will watch in their entirety.
            Okay, maybe such without real life friends, extremly bored without any actual paint to watch drying.

  • Larrick Saturday, 5 December 2015, 1:25 am

    Doesn’t the weight loss post 2007, however it occurred, also show a change in attitude? A change that could also lead to improved mental ‘toughness’ and self-belief? Changes that are often the difference between being an also ran or top performer at an elite level.

    Sometimes athletes, to use a hackneyed phrase, have ‘a light suddenly switch on’ and a talent that’s always been there is released for all to see.

    Froome may or may not have doped but to look only at results and ignore what mental changes may have happened, something which none of us commenting will never know about for sure, is only taking in part of the full picture.

  • Larry T. Saturday, 5 December 2015, 3:27 am

    The worst thing in all this is not whether or not Froome’s results are real or pharmaceutical. To me the tragedy is that it’s all about watts vs kg!!!! Tactics, recovery, skill, panache and all the rest take a way-too-distant backseat to f__ing watts vs kg! The TdF champion looks like hell on a bike, isn’t all that great at racing downhill and takes his directions from an earpiece, all while spending a ridiculous amount of time looking at his f__ing power meter instead of where the hell he’s going. Doping doesn’t much increase panache, skill, etc. so why can’t the sport put more emphasis on this instead of the damn watts vs kg?

    • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 1:13 pm

      There are a few cheap jokes on the watts vs Kg, but I think what’s most important about what you’re saying is that there is not a lot of panache in a TdF win. It’s worth a lot of money and fame, it’s most non-European’s introduction to professional cycling, but it’s not a very good example of what the sport of cycling is all about ideally.

    • Anonymous Sunday, 6 December 2015, 2:57 pm

      A few days have passed, so I’m not sure how many people will still be reading this thread. But I have to reply in support of Larry’s comment. Like the beautiful game, when you remove the beauty there is not much worth watching. You can make the argument that it is all about winning, but if it isn’t interesting then I’m not watching. For this reason, I find myself watching less of the Tour de France in recent years.

    • Vitus Monday, 7 December 2015, 11:08 pm

      Amen!
      Does he dope or does he not. I can’t tell.
      Is this stem starring cart pushing riding style ugly and boring to watch. Yes, it is.
      So I don’t care if it’s juice or if he’s just a wunderkind with outstanding physical data. All I’m saying is why didn’t anyone take notice of that wonder when he must have dominated the juniors…

  • Whaleoilbeefhooked Saturday, 5 December 2015, 11:12 am

    Larry pro sport is about winning. I suspect how they go about it matters little to most of those at the top nowadays. How can we know that the panache of which you speak (and I also enjoy) didn’t result from superior doping practices as opposed to the perfect storm of genetics, talent and motivation?

  • J Evans Saturday, 5 December 2015, 3:22 pm

    Re: ‘Etixx-Quickstep-Lidl?’ – like the new kit. And it’s mostly non-black! (Sorry, this isn’t about Froome.)

    • hoh Saturday, 5 December 2015, 7:18 pm

      That blue is fairly dark.

  • J Evans Saturday, 5 December 2015, 3:43 pm

    As Grappe says, we’d have needed Froome to release a lot more data than he has in order for things to be cleared up even slightly.
    Although some questions have been answered – the ‘engine’ seems to have always been there and the weight loss is highly significant – many haven’t: such as why he was so mediocre in 2011 prior to the Vuelta (many plausible reasons given above, but the arguments presented against these are equally compelling) and we still don’t have a full explanation of the bilharzia issue.
    What he has released seems little more than a publicity exercise – and not releasing longitudinal data just adds to people’s suspicions.
    But he’s still done more than most – as Grappe says, a good idea would be to make all riders release all data.
    If – and I stress ‘if’ – he is/was cheating I find it very hard to believe that Sky would not know this, given the testing they do on their riders. (You can read that whichever way you like.)

    • channel_zero Saturday, 5 December 2015, 4:59 pm

      Few ask how it is possible around 2011, for any cyclist not just Froome, who is already rail thin because of spending so many hours on a bike is able to drop so much weight and sustain so much power.

    • channel_zero Saturday, 5 December 2015, 5:02 pm

      BTW, the whole “Sky does a bunch of testing and is super-scientific” story has been thoroughly debunked at this point.

      Again, we’re relying on the UCI to protect the integrity in the sport by sanctioning PED users and they have clearly failed that role.

      • J Evans Saturday, 5 December 2015, 5:30 pm

        ‘BTW, the whole “Sky does a bunch of testing and is super-scientific” story has been thoroughly debunked at this point.’
        – That’s not what I said.
        What I’m saying is that I find it hard to believe that Sky’s physiological testing of their riders would be insufficient to show up a clear increase in Froome’s performance (for instance of the sudden type, mooted above, prior to the 2011 Vuelta).
        And that statement is neither pro/anti-Froome/Sky.

        • Larry T. Saturday, 5 December 2015, 6:09 pm

          Well, let’s remember this team hired a large group of folks with dodgy pasts. Only AFTER their first Yellow Jersey was transported from Paris and mounted on the wall of their HQ did they “discover” all the dirty tricks and scandals these people had been involved in – and promptly sacked the lot….administering plenty of pats to their own backs in the process.
          Nobody is going to convince me these self-proclaimed masters of “marginal gains” didn’t know exactly what they were doing when these dodgy characters were hired. I think the lack of details on their TdF champion is not because they don’t HAVE them, but because they don’t wish to share them. Draw your own conclusions as to why.

          • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 6:16 pm

            Why, Larry?

    • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 6:01 pm

      There is fat chance of the reception this has earned in many quarters encouraging more pros to follow suit IMO

      • Larry T. Saturday, 5 December 2015, 7:25 pm

        Did you read this? http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/froomes-physiological-testing-insufficient-says-grappe/
        If this is all the data they’re going to publish, why bother?
        Those who wonder why the current TdF champ’s the target of questions need to look back at his “zero to hero” transition – one quite different from most of the recent TdF champs. The experts seem to think weight loss is not enough to explain it.

        • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 7:35 pm

          Ok

          Well, a couple of things: you say ‘they’, and given your previous post I assume you mean Sky. Sky had nothing to do with the tests. They did not commission them, no Sky staff were present during the tests, and they had no sight of the results and report until it was published.

          All was planned, organised and managed by and through Froome, his wife and his people, totally outside and independent of Sky.

          All of this has been confirmed by Richard Moore. If you don’t believe me, feel free to contact him on Twitter (though I have a feeling you will say that you don’t use Twitter).

          Another point worth mentioning is that after Grappe gave his quotes to Cyclingnews, Jeroen Swart contacted Grappe direct on Twitter to flag up to him that at least some of the data Grappe was bemoaning as missing, is actually in the report posted up on GSK’s website yday (day after the article in Esquire), and to look out for the paper to be published in a scientific journal in the next few months. Grappe had jumped the gun a little.

          • J Evans Saturday, 5 December 2015, 8:04 pm

            If Froome wants his data to be taken seriously, he has to give us all the data – and have experts peer-review the data in a scientific paper.
            Maybe that’s going to happen, but until then, this is little more than PR and no conclusions can be drawn either way.
            If that paper is coming, it would have been far better to wait for that to come out, rather than cherry-picking information to release in Esquire of all places.
            Really, he’s only opened himself up to more criticism – which he surely could have guessed at.

          • hoh Saturday, 5 December 2015, 8:20 pm

            It’s probably more a case of cyclingnews twisting Grappe’s words than Grappe jumping the gun.

            All Grappe was advocating for is a bio-passport type longitudinal system (managed by 3rd party) to analyse physiological data. He believes the data is there and currently only teams has access to them. It would boost credibility of cycling significantly if an independent body can monitor these datas.

            Grappe praised Froome’s data publishing as a positive step, though he thought a better system should be in place (UCI should take notice). However, cyclingnews, whether through deliberation or lost in translation decides to paraphrase him in such a way that it appears Grappe was criticising Froome for not being transparent enough and trying to hide data.

            And I am quite sure the title of the article “Froome’s physiological testing insufficient, says Grappe” on cycling news was picked by an AB test system (during a test period, you offer people got onto your front page different titles to an article. The one that collected most click throughs would be used as the finale title. ), further proof that the site has no integrity and only writes what people want to read.

          • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 8:25 pm

            It was always going to be this.

            ‘Give us this!’

            ‘No, now we want that. And that.’

            And meanwhile Tucker moves around the goalposts to suit his purpose.

            Anyone care to challenge my assertion that this isn’t going to encourage other pros to go through this process? Furgettaboutit

          • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 8:29 pm

            Though I would add that of nothing else, it’s been amusing to see people lose their shoot, and try to argue and position ill-informed, ignorant quarter-baked claims to quite a number of highly qualified, experienced and eminent sports scientists on social media, and look utter tits in the process. So for that amusement, thank you Froome.

          • Larry T. Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:05 pm

            I feel like you are an attorney representing Froome. Sky does X, Froome does Y, they’re separate, blah, blah. Reminds me of the standard response from teams when a rider tests positive – “It was the rider, we had no knowledge of it.” I agree with your idea that nobody else will bother with this, why should they? The stuff Froome allowed to be published seems rather incomplete based on what the experts say and satisfies nobody except those who want to use it to prove a negative, ie “My boy’s clean!” The fanboys say this is proof their boy’s an angel while those who hate him will claim it proves nothing of the sort, while I think it doesn’t really do much of anything other than generate controversy/publicity.
            As someone who followed the sport well before BigTex showed up on the scene I’m bemused at how certain lots of folks in the UK were that Tex was doped while the Yanks insisted dopers were “those cheating Italians, etc.” Now that a UK guy’s the target of questions about amazing performance improvement in a short time, the Brits have started to sound like the defenders of Tex before it all came crashing down. Sadly, too often nationalism trumps sporting values it seems.

          • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:57 pm

            Lol, Larry. That is funny. That’s properly cheered me up, that has 🙂

          • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:59 pm

            Btw the term ‘fanboys’ is a term people use when they have little imagination, and are getting a tad desperate in an exchange of views. Don’t be that desperate. And don’t try the nationalism card. That’ also smacks of little imagination.

          • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 10:55 pm

            No Sam, that would be ‘lol’.

          • DMC Monday, 7 December 2015, 7:07 pm

            Huge question – what is Sam going on about?

            Larry makes two huge points that no one has addressed yet – and please note I AM NOT SAYING FROOME IS DOPING OR ANYTHING.

            1. The sequence of events for Froome and his and Sky’s responses sound like Big Tex.

            2. Also, if this article is accurate (http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/five-key-points-of-chris-froomes-physiological-data/), Froome’s data is very incomplete. It only shows his power at a level far below his Aerobic Threshold, therefore the ratio of 6.2 doesn’t mean a thing. Well, the only thing it shows us is that Froome can ride at 6.2 watts/kg in his sleep! At 79% below his maximum HR, Froome can sustain 419 watts for 40 minutes… That implies he can do significantly higher wattage over that same time period. Now the question is, what is that wattage? If he can do 10% higher wattage, then his AT would be 460 watts, and his ratio would be 6.59, which is below Lance’s famous 6.7, but because he didn’t give this information, we’re still guessing!

          • Anonymous Monday, 7 December 2015, 8:41 pm

            DMC: Sam’s MO is ‘Say something in a pompous, overbearing manner – that proves you’re right’. Then attempt to claim the moral high ground by suggesting that others’ comments are out of order.

          • Nick Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 1:12 pm

            @DMC:

            1. One of the problems of Armstrong’s approach (and indeed that of many other dopers) is that he/they said exactly the same things that a clean rider would – always been clean, always tested negative – etc. So, irrespective of whether you think Froome or any other given rider is clean, what would they say that hasn’t already been said by Armstrong?

            2. I’m not sure that article is accurate. For instance, the GSK data published does include a maximal test, at which Froome got up to 525W for 30 secs before his cadence dropped below 70rpm. It will be interesting to see whether the later paper contains more information about the implications of this.

          • DMC Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 3:40 pm

            Nick, I agree:

            1. Exactly, what can Froome say (that Lance didn’t previously lie about) to make people believe he is being honest? At the same time, the only thing he could do is have a 24-7 camera on him, sort of like the Truman Show. The Frooman Show anyone?

            2. I too hope the scientific paper gives us the final AT watts/kg. I understand why the doctors are interested in all of the many different pieces of information, testing, flow rates, VO2, etc. but as a fan of cycling, I only want to know one number, the magic number – watts/kg at AT. Would Froome have beaten Lance up Luz Ardiden in 2003? That’s what I want to know.

          • gabriele Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 5:53 pm

            @DMC
            I’m greatly interested in the numbers, too, out of pure scientific curiosity, but *as a cycling fan* I know that none of them will tell me much about if rider X could beat rider Y in any given circumstance. To speculate about that, you’d also need to know if the two riders react the same way to the previous days of race and to the previous hours of the stage – if they differ, which is the most probable thing, you need to know how. Plus, a good rider will ask his team to pace the race differently depending on who his rivals are. A lab test will hardly tell you much about that. However, I agree that, as it’s quite obvious, if a huge difference in, say, AT4 power is to be seen between two rider, that will grant the upper hand to the rider with the “better” value… But you can’t undervalue AT2, either.

          • DMC Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 9:10 pm

            Gabriele – OF COURSE. All that goes without saying. The bottom line is what was Froome’s AT watts/kg at the Tour last year? We all know that Lance’s juiced up AT was 6.7. So, what was Froome’s? The 6.2 from his Esquire was a submaximal effort, so it’s not comparable.

  • Morfinsky Saturday, 5 December 2015, 6:41 pm

    Why is everybody questioning Mr Froome, what about the rest of the top breeds in the world of GC:s?
    At least he tries to be transparent. At least, i have not seen any data from Val, Quint, AC, Nibs or Aru for example. To me, at least, there some other ones out there that you can question as well…

    • DMC Monday, 7 December 2015, 7:09 pm

      Agreed, why isn’t anyone asking for this? In my opinion, the rise of any of Astana’s young stars (eg. Aru) is way more questionable than Team Sky’s. And also, how do Astana’s stars compare to their former selves?

      • gabriele Monday, 7 December 2015, 9:34 pm

        That doesn’t happen (when and if it does *not* happen: Nibali and Valverde have been questioned, in different moments, for different reasons, but I get your point), that doesn’t happen, I think, because of several factors, among which the fact that all those guys – be they doping or not – have been showing huge talent from a very early age.
        Two things must be taken into account: there are quite a lot of elements of cycling that can’t be reduced to a W/Kg equation, and most of them are pretty hard to fake through doping… all the athletes you name have already proven in a crystal-clear way, at some points of their career, that they were able to throw in giant performances and even winning without being on the top of the W/Kg game.
        The second point, albeit more controversial, is the fact that historically most pro teams had little or no interest in doping a promising athlete, already recognised as such, during his first neo-pro years. Not even during the years of doping rampage. The nature of cycling long-term build-up, the adaptive aspect of training, it all implies that doping a young rider might mean hindering his whole potential. It’s way more complex than this, but, to sum it up, we may say that when you follow the career of a rider from his 15 years of age or so and you notice a certain pattern along with some qualities, well, from a probabilistic POV it’s less likely that his skills are (only) the result of doping.

  • BC Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:11 pm

    I must say I share Sam’s evident frustration at some of the ill informed and negative responses posted both here and in other places regarding Fromme’s published data. After all that has gone before it is perhaps to be expected. Froome has made an effort to be helpful, open and constructive, knowing full well that many will never accept whatever he places in the public domain.

    I suggest we welcome this initiative, and hope others will follow this precedent.

    If we want an honest and open sport, this is at least a start from a senior GT rider.

    • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:30 pm

      Sam’s comments further up? Sam is far from not suspicious about Froome.

      • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:56 pm

        I have my doubts

        But I dont have truck with defamation, or libel. Nor verbal, written or abuse. And the sight of the usual trolls trying to teach highly qualified sports scientists their subject, or the sight of some getting completely over-excited over a website they’ve found which gives Froome’s weight years ago as many kgs slower than he claimed, only to have it pointed out that perhaps the website MIGHT not be ENTIRELY accurate given that it also claimed him to be the same height as Cav, is greatly undoubtedly amusing. But also does nothing to get to any truth.

      • BC Saturday, 5 December 2015, 10:25 pm

        Anon. Unfortunately, after the LA years, every performance in bike racing has to be treated with circumspect.

        The point I was trying to make was not a defence of Froome, rather a suggestion that if we want the sport to be ‘open’, as opposed to the ‘law of silence ‘ of the recent past. The release of scientific performance related data into the public domain should be welcomed by everyone, irrespective of the source.

  • gabriele Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:35 pm

    Please, don’t take what I’m going to write as any sort of accusation or criticism or the likes. The doubts I’ve got regarding Froome have been expressed above, while I consider any attempt of total or partial transparency as very interesting, to say the least, whatever the intentions which prompted it.
    Hence, I’d just want to point out some factual details about what has been written in other comments, without hinting at anything – I’d do that if I had elements, and I’ll do that if it will be the case, but it just isn’t, presently.
    1) Grappe didn’t just complain about the lack of a longitudinal system as someone was suggesting. He asked for some specific data which I’d have really been curious to see myself. I felt disappointed about the absence of Max HR (especially given how peculiar the HR curve looks like, but only the one related to Submaximal effort is available) and gross efficiency (which is also hugely important for several motives I won’t explain here). Besides, he also noted that nothing specific was said about explosiveness and lactate threshold, but I guess these could be respectively identified with Peak Power Output (even if it’s not really the same…) and with the Lactate and HR Landmarks, both shown in the lab webpage. On the contrary, the previous two numbers just weren’t there, although at least Max HR should have been recorded. I imagine we’ll see that in the paper, whereas I don’t know if efficiency was been worked with at all. The upper part of the HR curve would be interesting to see, because even if 4 mmol/L is usually considered as *the* threshold, there’s a high individual variability, and that’s why HR Landmarks doesn’t correspond exactly to the threshold Grappe was asking for.
    2) I feel this was was just covering up their back, but GSK says: “Team Sky is proud to ride clean and win clean and they were fully behind Froome’s desire to visit the lab”. “Being fully behind” doesn’t mean much (accepting Froome’s requests, I’d say), still it’s a bit more than having nothing to do with.

    • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 10:06 pm

      Fine, Gabriele, they didn’t stop him from doing it. So yes, they had something to do with the whole thing

      • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 10:58 pm

        Fine Sam, why don’t you just say ‘Sky are clean – we’re 100% sure. And we know this because Wiggins used to ride for them’.

        • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 11:18 pm

          Chill out ‘Anon’. It’s the Internet. Don’t take it so seriously

          • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 11:29 pm

            Pot-kettle.

          • Anonymous Monday, 7 December 2015, 12:50 pm

            Pot-kettle. +100

            It is exhausting to have to wade through your arrogant, derogatory tone.

    • Larry T. Saturday, 5 December 2015, 10:13 pm

      +1 No more from me on this, I promise!!!

    • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 11:21 pm

      That is an exaggeration. She doesn’t need to get her hands that dirty; she has the dirt on them.

      • Anonymous Saturday, 5 December 2015, 11:23 pm

        meant for sam below

    • Tovarishch Monday, 7 December 2015, 10:59 am

      There again you could wait for the peer reviewed scientific paper to be published where you may find all your questions and doubts are answered. GSK are not going to publish anything of particular import until the peer review process is complete.

  • Alan T Saturday, 5 December 2015, 9:46 pm

    Where is the whistleblower?

    • Sam Saturday, 5 December 2015, 10:08 pm

      According to the grassy knoll bunch, Mrs Froome has knocked them all off

  • Sam Sunday, 6 December 2015, 12:03 am

    This is deteriorating into niggling. Have too much respect for INRNG & the majority of posters to be perpetuating that.

    Alan T: there aren’t any. Maybe someone will emerge over time. But it ain’t happened yet.

    BC: fair comment re encouraging openness

    J Evans, Gabriele: I suspect there will be no more data forthcoming until that paper gets published next year

  • Vitus Sunday, 6 December 2015, 11:32 am

    Given by the amount comments, the headline must be “Froome shorts”.

  • noel Monday, 7 December 2015, 10:37 am

    can we talk about something else now pls?

  • Anonymous Monday, 7 December 2015, 6:29 pm

    Boring stuff this.