Froome & Brailsford speak out on doping, issue challenge for way to prove Sky is clean

“I haven’t got a magic wand to come and convince all you guys.”

by John Stevenson   July 15, 2013  

06 Chris Froome quizzed at the TDF 2013 launch © Simon MacMichael

When Team Sky’s Chris Froome won yesterday’s stage of the Tour de France on the top of the iconic climb of Mont Ventoux, he and team principal Sir Dave Brailsford knew that the rest day press conference would be dominated by questions about doping. Sure enough, they came out with all guns blazing this morning. Froome repeated that he is not cheating and Sir Dave challenged reporters to tell him what it would take to convince them.

Initially, it seemed Froome wanted to sidestep the issue though. Asked about the suspicions that he might be doping, he said: “I can only be open and say to people, I know within myself that I’ve trained extremely hard to get here. All the results I get I know are my own results... Outside of that, I can’t talk about that; I can’t talk about that other stuff. I know what I’ve done to get here and I’m extremely proud of what I’ve done.”

But them a comparison with Lance Armstrong got Froome’s back up. “Lance won those races but that aside, to compare me with Lance... I mean Lance cheated, I’m not cheating. End of story.”

Planned performance, Ventoux recce

Sir Dave Brailsford picked up the baton shortly afterwards.

“We planned that performance for quite some time,” he aid. “Chris has been out to Ventoux to recce the climb, thought very carefully about how to ride it, how to ride as a team. And when you see that performance unfolding in front of you exactly as had been planned for some time, and Chris rode so fantastically at the end to win the stage, it was quite an emotional thing to watch.

“And the first thing that crosses my mind, having jumped in the air and punched the air, is not: right, that’s my five minutes of joy gone, let’s get on to the doping questions. Which happens everyday.”

“You’re asking me, how can I prove to you that we are not doping? You’re all asking the same questions. We wrack our brains every day.”

A WADA solution

Brailsford reiterated his reluctance to release his riders’ power data, but suggested that perhaps monitoring of the team on the lines of the biological passport system would work.

“We’ve been thinking about the biological passport and how that works with an appointed panel of experts... If you extrapolate that thinking forward I think we’d be quite happy, we’d actually encourage, maybe WADA to appoint an expert and they could have everything that we’ve got. They could come and live with us, they could have all of our information, see all of our data, have access to every single training file we’ve got. We could then compare the training files to the blood data, to weight... All of that type of information they could capture on a consistent basis.

“And it seems to me WADA are a good body to sit and analyse all that data. And they then could tell the world, and you, whether they think this is credible or not.”

Brailsford then issued his challenge to the world’s cycling press.

Get your heads together

“Rather than asking us all the time to come up with some creative way to prove that we’re innocent, why couldn’t you... get yourselves together ... and you tell me, what would prove it for you, what could we do? ... Get your heads together and come to me and say, well this is what we think we would like in order to prove to you beyond reasonable doubt that we are not doping.”

“Bottom line is, it’s a rest day, it’s 10 o’ clock in the morning and I’m trying to defend somebody who’s doing nothing wrong. I’m quite happy to do it, and I’m more than happy to try to convince you guys that we’re not doing anything wrong, but I need a little bit of help. I think, in coming up with a way about how the hell we do it.

As for Froome, he was clearly angry and frustrated at the direction the conference was going.

“I just think it’s quite sad that we’re sitting here the day after the biggest victory of my life yesterday, quite a historic win, talking about doping,” he said.

“And quite frankly, I mean, my team-mates and I, we’ve slept on volcanoes to get ready for this, we’ve been away from home for months, training together, just working our arses off to get here, and here I am, basically being accused of being a cheat and a liar and... that’s not cool.”

And with that, Froome left the room to talk to the TV crews that were waiting outside the Sky team bus.

65 user comments

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Except that's about the exact opposite of what happened. With the exception of Walsh and Ballester, almost nobody accused Armstrong of doping, and especially not the specialist press, most of whom (and I include the site I worked for at the time) were so far up Postal's backside we could brush Armstrong's teeth from behind.

Go look up the coverage of l'Equipe's masterly uncovering of Armstrong's 1999 EPO use. We were all so afraid of getting sued, we all tip-toed round the story, desperately doing only as much coverage as we had to and blandly quoting l'Equipe with about three 'allegeds' per paragraph.

Now, finally, a decent-sized section of the bike racing media doesn't believe in miracles. A few who follow the Tour feel they have been burned too many times. They see something that looks too good to be true and instead of heralding it as a miracle return from cancer or an amazing comeback by the Mennonite boy, they ask 'Is this too good to be true?' where before they just wrote the easy upbeat story.

And if they think it might be, they ask the hard questions. And you can bet some of them are digging round in the background, looking for someone who knows something and will talk. If Sky are dirty, then there is an Emma O'Reilly out there somewhere, or a Mike Anderson.

Embarrassingly, there are still alleged journalists lobbing ridiculous softballs at the riders. I was reading a blog by one of them this morning and he even seems proud of going easy. If you're going to fulminate against journalists, these are the ones who deserve your ire, not the ones who are trying to find out whether or not Sky is clean.

John Stevenson's picture

posted by John Stevenson [950 posts]
15th July 2013 - 22:22

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Absolutely - the gaps weren't huge and he only built this up slowly over the last few km. Its the sudden acceleration part that's making everyone so suspicious. From everything I've read this is something innate - you've either got it or you haven't - and the best climbers generally have had it. No amount of training / practice would allow Wiggo for example do that - he's just not made that way.

Also, with the resources Sky have and their generally anal approach to everything in the cause of winning, why would they only chose to dope 3-4 of their team rather than all of them. Have we seen massed ranks of Sky riders at the business end of the mountain stages like Movistar?

For the the record, I'm generally pretty cynical about pro riding and was pretty sure LA was dodgy for years, so I'm no naive fan boy.

Ultimately we can't have it both ways - we want to watch transcendent rides like Froome's yesterday, but when we get it, we don't believe it and immediately cry 'it must be the drugs'. The alternative where there was no suspicion at all, where no one rode away from anyone else would be pretty dull - a bunch of guys grinding their way up a mountain in a group followed by a sprint over the last 200 meters! Not my idea of exciting.

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [204 posts]
15th July 2013 - 22:52

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Keep shooting the messengers, those bone idle w**kers, who dont ride a bike 6 hours a day, what are you on?

Last year none of Sky's domestiques had an off day. This year they have had. So what it is guys, last year they doped because Wiggins was never alone and always had the blue and black train and this year because the peloton is playing catch up on last year the Sky doms look real so not dopng this year, but Froome doesn't look real, making dopers like Piti and Contador look like also rans.

Everyone forget how Froome finished 10mins down on these guys less than a year ago in Spain and now he is ahead of Contador by 4'25"? Taking back nearly 15mins on Contador in GT terms aint bad and on bread and water mixed with a bit of 'science'.

Enjoy your ride with Sky, if you are lucky it may last as long as Cancer Jesus's, nearly 15 years. Wait for the Bilharzia awareness charity and "I have done too much good for too many people" or similar.

posted by Decster [246 posts]
15th July 2013 - 23:23

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As Brailsford says, we have now arrived at a situation where riders can't prove they ride clean. If you test clean, it's because you're one step ahead of the tests.

Lamentable but I refuse to pander to that level of cynicism.

posted by paulfg42 [368 posts]
15th July 2013 - 23:25

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news just in. Big Grin

Brailsford claims to have offered the data to Wada Nerd

"Brailsford did admit that he'd talked to WADA about the idea.

"We'd encourage WADA to appoint to some experts and they could have everything we've got. They could have all our information, all of our data. We could then compare are training files with the blood data, to the weight and WADA would be a good body to analyse that," he said."

Then this Thinking

Shane Stokes ‏@SSbike 28m

WADA confirms no contact with Team Sky thus far, will assess proposal

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/15010/WADA-hasnt-yet-been-approached-b...

So Brailsford lied, not Sir David Braislford of team sky telling porkies. Cant be! Surprise

Been here before, if i remember correctly sometime between 1999 and 2005. Angry

Enjoy. Yawn

posted by Decster [246 posts]
15th July 2013 - 23:33

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you're not really adding much to the debate, decster. you've clearly made up your mind, whereas to his credit brailsford is attempting to engage with the people questioning the team to find a way forward. what do you suggest he does? after all, he's looking for suggestions.

picking two performances and claiming that's a trend is nonsense, obviously. Ten Dam has made up the same sort of time between the two races, so is he doping too? and if contador's still doping, which you clearly believe he is, why isn't he keeping pace? can we work out who's been doping, and how much, just by comparing those two races? no, of course not. a more in-depth analysis than that would be needed, carried out by independent experts. that seems to me to be what brailsford is suggesting. what's your take on that? can it work?

you're not moving the debate forward. i haven't seen you offer a single constructive suggestion. you're as dogmatic as the fanboys. neither of you are helping much. i find both positions both untenable and patronising. there's always room for doubt.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
15th July 2013 - 23:42

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"Brailsford did admit that he'd talked to WADA about the idea"

i've missed that one, where have you read that? wherever it was, i'm guessing brailsford has been misunderstood; he's making a suggestion rather than reporting on something that's already in progress. reading the velonation piece, WADA seem like they're interested in discussing it, anyway. that sounds reasonably positive to me. proof of the pudding, and all that.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
15th July 2013 - 23:51

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Hmmmm ...................pudding Drooling

posted by Some Fella [707 posts]
16th July 2013 - 0:18

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Reading some of the unsubstantiated stuff both here and on Twitter, there is only one conclusion I can come to...
-if Froome ever decided to do a Lord McAlpine, he would never have to turn a crank in anger again, able to live quite comfortably on the proceeds of hundreds of lawyers letters!

Otis Bragg's picture

posted by Otis Bragg [96 posts]
16th July 2013 - 0:33

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Decster???
You've maybe got nothing better to do with your time, but if you do a quick Google search on " EPO alternative" at least take the time to read the information;
"When mice with anemia are treated with Gas6, the red blood cells once again rise to their normal levels in the blood. In contrast to EPO, the use of Gas6 does not result in an excessive production of red blood cells..." I guess, and I'm no expert like you, that the blood passport would detect this rise back to normal levels, much like a blood transfusion.

Guys like you are exactly the reason why Sky shouldn't publish their data.

On yer bike, son!

Damn! I've just given him some of the attention he so craves!! Sick

posted by pwake [264 posts]
16th July 2013 - 5:06

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Armstrong's legacy is one of the worst aspects of the whole affair. Even in the 1950s and 60s, it was being suggested that riders were "on something". I think it was Jacques Anquetil who said: "You don't expect us to do this on mineral water, do you?" But Armstrong's behaviour has changed all that, with his cynical manipulation of the system and its regulations. I really do think it's a terrible shame that Froome wasn't allowed to celebrate his victory on Mont Ventoux without having to face a barrage of questions about doping. Everyone needs to listen to people like Brailsford and work towards a way of making such "journalistic" questions a thing of the past.

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [61 posts]
16th July 2013 - 7:38

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Decster wrote:
Brailsford claims to have offered the data to Wada

Did he? I thought he said -

Quote:
"We'd encourage WADA to appoint to some experts and they could have everything we've got. They could have all our information, all of our data. We could then compare are training files with the blood data, to the weight and WADA would be a good body to analyse that," he said."

You'll be able to show me the quote where he says he's spoken to WADA already, of course.

posted by Pondo [19 posts]
16th July 2013 - 8:24

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Decster, you're talking such utter shit that I'm actually wondering if you're deliberately trolling or if you really are that stupid...

Selective quotes, twisting words/phrases.
Can quite understand why DB doesn't want to release all the power and training data to internet snipers like you.

posted by crazy-legs [473 posts]
16th July 2013 - 8:44

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The more I read this, the more I think it's a troll for sure.

You score 2 / 10 *

* marked down for lack of originality!

posted by Super Domestique [1583 posts]
16th July 2013 - 9:02

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Decster - let me point something out to your tiny thick mind, In 2012 Froome rode on the front of the tour to help Wiggins win and in doing so probably gave up his own chance of winning.

3 weeks after that he heads up the Vuelta team and you can only come up with he lost time to Bertie et al. Of course he bloody did, they had not raced the tour and were fresh whereas he had a few thousand Km's in his legs.

At times your stupidity knows no bounds. However due to your limited intelligence this will not sink in Big Grin

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2639 posts]
16th July 2013 - 9:21

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Even Alberto Contador believes Froome is clean - and there's a rider who'd know!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/jul/15/sky-dave-brailsford-doping

Little bit more on the science behind those attacks on Ventoux:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/jul/15/team-sky-chris-froome-tour-d...

And a rather pertinent piece about winning races post-Armstrong...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/tour-de-france/1018...

posted by crazy-legs [473 posts]
16th July 2013 - 9:55

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Can there be a rule that if you are going to use road.cc to make accusations against someone you should back it up with some evidence?
There is no evidence that any cyclist has ever used Gas6 and I'm not sure where that Brailsford quote came from, but he certainly didn't say it in the press conference. I suspect Decster is a blind follower of the Doperati.
I like the road.cc forum because it's possible to have a debate with sensible, knowledgeable people. It's ok to be sceptical (all cycling fans should be), but if you're only interested in casting wild accusations there are plenty of other places to do it.

posted by NeilG83 [215 posts]
16th July 2013 - 10:58

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Decster - how sad do you have to be to make up quotes to try and prove DB said something he didn't. You really need to take a look at yourself if that's what you feel the need to resort to.

On DB's WADA suggestion, it seems like a good idea and one that I hope is explored. Somewhat begs the question of why it's left to him to do this, rather than the UCI driving it though...

posted by dp24 [137 posts]
16th July 2013 - 11:08

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I don't understand why Armstrong's 'cynical manipulation' is worse than other doping. It's all bad. Doping is doping. There is no grey area in modern day sport - you know the rules, what over the counter medicines can and can't be taken. If you have drugs in your system, you're a cheat.

And I can't remember anyone actually admitting to doping before they were caught!

posted by charliepalooza [14 posts]
16th July 2013 - 12:19

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Brialsford says he doesnt want to release his riders data and that makes it seem as if he wants to both somehow be able to persuade the hacks and the cycling fans that his riders are clean and also preserve some of the training secrets that he feels give his squad and edge. Is it unrealistic to expect to be able to acheive both be holding back rider data? Other riders on the tour are releasing their data though. Ten Dam is on Strava http://app.strava.com/pros/186522, so I could be wrong (please tell me if I am), but surely if one uses his data one can use the ratio of the time he took to get up a climb and the time it took Froome to work out Froomes w/kg.

I think that at the bottom of last Saturdays climb to Ax 3 Domaine and at the bottom of Ventoux Ten Dam and Frome started together in the remnants of the peleton. The tour website has Froome as weighing 72 kg and Ten Dam as 67Kg. For last Saturdays climb http://app.strava.com/activities/65157191#1251253455 Ten Dam's power output from his Garmin showed 404w which equates to 6.03 w/Kg (404/67). If Froome has taken the same time his w/kg would have been 5.61 w/kg (404/72). According to the tour website Ten Dam finished 1m 16s behind Froome and his strava data shows he took 24m and 9s to complete the climb. Cant one just use that ratio to calculate Froome w/kg? i.e. (24 + 9/60)/(22 + 53/60) = 1.05 giving Froomes w/kg for the climb as 5.61 x 1.05 = 5.92 w/kg

If one applies the same logic to Ventoux http://app.strava.com/activities/67057155#1287916934 Ten Dams w/kg for the climb was 388/67=5.79 w/kg. He completed the climb in 58m 17sec which was 1m 53 slower than Froome. So Froomes w/kg for Ventoux was (388/72)*(58 + 17/60)/( 56 + 24/60) = 5.58 w/kg

Both Ten Dam and Froome are therefore outputting far fewer w/kg than dopers like Armstrong did in their hay day. Or am I missing something?

posted by MattNicholson [1 posts]
16th July 2013 - 12:41

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MattNicholson wrote:
am I missing something?

you're missing the vitally important distinction between real power measurement and strava-calculated power, for a start. ten dam's power is estimated by strava. there's no lightning bolt next to it, indicating it's an estimate.

https://strava.zendesk.com/entries/21787747-What-does-the-lightning-symb...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
16th July 2013 - 13:09

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Power and time calculations alone on climbs still don't add up.

Everyone is saying that Ventoux was really fast, faster than when Lance did it blah blah but you've got to look at all the factors - the break didn't have any EuropCar riders in it so they started chasing. The break, realising that if EuropCar caught them, the KOM leader Pierre Rolland would probably win, put all their effort into avoiding the catch.

There was a screaming tailwind. Sky and TST sat there behind EuropCar ready to unleash hell when EuropCar died (which they did) and then the pace went up another notch when Sky and TST got to the front and started jostling for position.

So to an outsider, it just appears that the pace was high therefore they must have been doping. Not true at all, got to look at all the factors involved.

Trying to second guess power from Strava estimates is probably worse than just sitting there and accepting what you saw - estimated data like that is likely to be WAY out, especially as it's derived to cope with normal riders, not TdF pros!

posted by crazy-legs [473 posts]
16th July 2013 - 13:44

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Posted this in another story by mistake but basically:

These guys are trying to bring some analysis to the argument which is similar to other posts where they try to analyse and compare against previous results:
http://www.sportsscientists.com/

particularly:
http://www.sportsscientists.com/2013/07/mont-ventoux-preview-looking-for...

posted by kitkat [187 posts]
16th July 2013 - 14:04

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
notfastenough wrote:
Apply all this to your own job. If I put months of work into something which turned out awesome, only for people to make snide comments and suggest I cheated, I'd be mightily pissed off.

"I have never taken performance enhancing drugs". It's thing that is trawled out by every doper ever. I'm not saying that this condemns team Sky, but it's a record that has been spun over and over.

So what could he conceivably have said to satisfy people? There isn't an answer to that, so it's a complete non-question posed by crap journos who think that qualifies as 'asking the tough questions'. It doesn't.

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I am heartened that Team Sky have shown suffering. It makes them human. But equally, Froome has not suffered in the same way.

Sorry, I think you're wrong. Froome (or the DS via the race radio) has shown tactical awareness by going hard on the important days. If he was invincible he wouldn't have conceded 51 secs on that flat stage to ACs breakaway. Also, on that super Sunday where he was outnumbered by Movistar, Quintana admitted Movistar were riding to distance Porte, not drop Froome. Half the time CF just sat amongst blue jerseys just like he would sit amongst black jerseys. Their mistake IMHO, but it flattered Froome.

As for Decster, you've just cited a race (2012 Vuelta) where CF, having finished the TdF and Olympics, was dropped by a trio that DID look turbocharged. They did that attacking shit day-after-day! Sky look like they're suffering for it at least. At that's your justification that CF must be doped?! I think it's you that's on the bloody drugs sunshine.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2879 posts]
16th July 2013 - 14:32

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Well after reading all the attacks on the messenger, it seems the good people of the UK are not ready to let their Armstrong moment in the sun skip by without trying to make hay from it.

Not going to respond to each indivdual attack.

As for brailsford's quote.

here

"However Brailsford then mentioned WADA as perhaps a portal for the team to execute the analysis of data. There are currently no concrete plans to do anything of the sort, however Brailsford did admit that he'd talked to WADA about the idea."

Read carefully the line where Brailsford says, DID ADMIT THAT HE'D TALKED TO WADA, which WADA have denied any contact from Team Sky.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/brailsford-how-can-we-convince-you-we-ar...

Please note that cycling was growing in the USA before Armstrong won a Tour and has continued despite him. Same all over the world. Cycling a bicyle and bicycle sales has little to do with the professional side of the sport. If it did the sport would be in an extremely healthy financial position. It isn't because the teams refuse to stop doping.

A dopo Sky fans.

PS Colin P made some great points and as a former Pro worth reading.

posted by Decster [246 posts]
16th July 2013 - 18:47

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The article said it, no quote from DB there.

From someone that put their full address on their profile where it asks for location, I'd say reading isn't your strong point lol.

I'll leave it there, nothing more from me.

Perhaps we should stick a 'do not feed the trolls' sign up!

posted by Super Domestique [1583 posts]
16th July 2013 - 18:58

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Contador said there's nothing suspicious about Froome's performance. And we all know his word is bond.

Sidenote: Right on schedule, after a grand tour rest day, Contador found a way to dance on those pedals like a brand new man. Where have we seen that phenomenon before?

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
16th July 2013 - 19:55

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Personally, I reckon you just have to look at Froome's pasty, lolling head to see that he's either just suffering big time, or having a massive whitey! So, he's either not doping or taking performance debilitating drugs!

On the Armstrong legacy, I'm happy to admit that I was naively or otherwise drawn into the myth of perseverance will triumph over adversity. But, then at the time, I hadn't really delved into cycling's history or read so deeply. So, it really rocked my confidence in pro-cycling. I am cynical, but am also prepared to see that there are teams out there who are really trying to race clean.

It's far too easy to be negative - it's the old "I'm happy to be a pessimist" argument. I'm optimisitic and am going to take solace from the lack of performance of those previously banned.

I had a moment where I thought having a monument to someone who died through doping (Tom Simpson) was a bit much. But, then remembered that it was the "done thing" to have a spot of coke and brandy to cope with the climbs on heavy, inefficient old horses!

Personally, I find a good lamb roast and 4 pints plenty to fuel a devastating ride....

[PS I may have drunk little too much wine!]

posted by Jimbonic [107 posts]
16th July 2013 - 22:02

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Decster wrote:

As for brailsford's quote.

here

"However Brailsford then mentioned WADA as perhaps a portal for the team to execute the analysis of data. There are currently no concrete plans to do anything of the sort, however Brailsford did admit that he'd talked to WADA about the idea."


Ok, so there IS no quote. Would have been easier if you'd just apologised.

posted by Pondo [19 posts]
17th July 2013 - 9:14

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I am almost 99% certain that "Decster" is this same fool who who repeats the same bullshit he makes up in his bedroom.

http://durianrider.com/about/

http://www.youtube.com/user/durianriders?feature=watch

He is a mental case who craves attention. Full of lies and contradiction.

posted by jaylamont [13 posts]
19th July 2013 - 14:51

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