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Meanwhile, WADA declines to get involved and UK Anti-Doping says it can't offer a "kite mark" of cleanliness...

French sports newspaper l’Equipe has this morning published an analysis of Chris Froome’s power data from 18 climbs over the last two years.

The headline finding from l’Equipe’s expert, Fred Grappe is that Froome’s power data for the last two years is consistent, and that he has an exceptionally high five-minute maximum power output, which gives him an advantage over other riders.

Grappe draws four other conclusions from the data, which covers the period from the 2011 Tour of Spain to Sunday's Tour de France stage on Mont Vontoux: Froome’s power curve, his ability to generate power versus time, is normal and his rides in this Tour are consistent with the data; his VO2 max must be close to the known physiological limits, though Team Sky say it has never been measured; his weight has been stable for the las two years; and he mus have excellent powers of recovery.

L’Equipe, which is owned by Amaury Sports Organisation, the same company that owns and runs the Tour de France, approached Sky after team principal Sir Dave Brailsford suggested on Monday that the team would be willing to submit its data to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Fred Grappe, L’Equipe’s expert is a doctor of biomechanics and physiology, and sports coach to the FdJ.fr team. He has long been one of the French sport press’s go-to guys for physiological commentary but is seen by some as too much of a cycling insider to be fully impartial.

Submitting data to anti-doping agencies

On Twitter this morning Team Sky Head of Business Operations Fran Millar, said that the World Anti-Doping Agency has told the team that it can’t help with analysing their riders’ data. The squad is hoping UK Anti-Doping will get involved.

According to The Guardian, UK Anti-Doping will welcome Team Sky’s offer to share their performance data but is likely to tell Sky that it can’t award a “kite mark” or definitively rule that any team or rider is clean. “It’s not what we’re there to do,” said the paper’s source.

As a UK-registered team, Sky comes under UK Anti-Doping's jurisdiction and is therefore already required to share with the agency anything that might help in the fight against doping.

However, it seems this has not previously included detailed rider performance data.

UK Anti-Doping’s chief executive Andy Parkinson told The Guardian it was inevitable that this year’s Tour would be the subject of intense focus in the wake of the United States Anti-Doping Agency stripping Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour wins.

“There are many tools available to anti-doping authorities, including the use and analysis of all types of data,” Parkinson said.

“UKAD has regularly communicated the need for those in sport to share all relevant intelligence with those working to protect clean sport. Being the first Tour since the Usada decision there is an obvious need for teams to be as transparent as possible.”

The agency would have to analyse Sky’s performance data before deciding how relevant it is. If all teams and sports were to submit performance and physiological data for all their athletes it would create what the paper drily calls a “resource issue”.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

61 comments

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 3 years ago
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I thought it was odd that Sky wouldn't have measured his vo2 max, but apparently not. JV said on twitter it's not something he's bothered about for his riders either; "all a bit 1985" we're his words I think.

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AWPeleton [3329 posts] 3 years ago
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Shame WADA wont get involved it would shut up all the doubters, well at least for a while.

Good piece by L'Equippe though.

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crazy-legs [769 posts] 3 years ago
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Where's Decster to accuse everyone of a cover up? C'mon Decster, there's got to be a conspiracy here somewhere - maybe Sky gave Fred Grappe a lifetime subscription to the movie channel to pay him off?  3

What bollocks are you going to come up with now?

l'Equipe is actually a very good article.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

Where's Decster to accuse everyone of a cover up? C'mon Decster, there's got to be a conspiracy here somewhere - maybe Sky gave Fred Grappe a lifetime subscription to the movie channel to pay him off?  3

What bollocks are you going to come up with now?

l'Equipe is actually a very good article.

Well, EVERYONE knows that it was Fred Grappe on the grassy knoll, shooting Lord Lucan at the 1977 Grand National, in the days before power meters.

AND his middle names are probably Edgar Motoman McDopenstein. Coincidence? I THINK NOT  19

By the way, everyone who disagrees with me is a hopelessly naive idiot, and probably also part of the conspiracy.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 3 years ago
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Give him a break, afterall he must be exhausted after his overnight move to the other side of the world plus huge bike upgrades - well, according to his profile.

I wouldn't bother guys. Evidence points to a troll.

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MattT53 [146 posts] 3 years ago
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"maybe Sky gave Fred Grappe a lifetime subscription to the movie channel to pay him off?"

top marks, enjoyed that a lot!

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DCRider [19 posts] 3 years ago
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What a surprise that WADA does not want to get involved with declaring a rider 'clean'. They are in business, and it is a big business with big money, for them to find cheats. They do not want clean riders everywhere as that would put them out of business! No jobs, no blazers, no fat paychecks. Conflict of interest or what?
Not doing anything to make it better just keeping things the way they are.

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Leviathan [1988 posts] 3 years ago
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'Excellent powers of recovery' like the Wolverine!

Froome seems to have got a bit better whilst a whole lot of others have gone backwards.  39 Says more about them than him.

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mingmong [260 posts] 3 years ago
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"Edgar Motoman McDopenstein" - top marks!

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 3 years ago
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People come along every decade or so who are more freakishly physiologically able than other physiological freaks in every sport. They had the cream of the genes. The 1 in 10 milion best of everything.

Great cyclists require amazing natural abilities, plus the supernatural ability to train hard, eat better and make more sacrifices than anyone else.

It makes for a very very rare form of perfection indeed. But all natural. People talk about his data being in 'normal' parameters. But was is normal? Who decides it? Surely amazing natural performances require beyond-normal?
Froome looks likes the Ultimate Freak. The Best Freak.

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mrmo [2077 posts] 3 years ago
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that sky are happy to share so much data suggests to me they are clean. Would you want to be in the **** storm in 5-10 years time when tests have evolved and the drugs are found?

Look at the law suits flyinh round lance now, do you think Murdoch wouldn't sue for his money if Sky are found to have been cheating?

The tests may not be there now, but they will be. Look at the LA era, it is tests now that are highlighting how bad the problem was.

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SlowSPDRider [29 posts] 3 years ago
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Actually I have it on good authority that Sky gave Fred Grappe some of their Rapha team kit. (Bibshorts and cap).

He had turned down the film subscription as he is awaiting Decsters novel on doping being published.

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

that sky are happy to share so much data suggests to me they are clean. Would you want to be in the **** storm in 5-10 years time when tests have evolved and the drugs are found?

Look at the law suits flyinh round lance now, do you think Murdoch wouldn't sue for his money if Sky are found to have been cheating?

The tests may not be there now, but they will be. Look at the LA era, it is tests now that are highlighting how bad the problem was.

I happen to agree with much of what you say, apart from the Murdoch bit. Neither father or son have an scruples whatsoever. Ask Lord Leveson.

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John Stevenson [251 posts] 3 years ago
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"People come along every decade or so who are more freakishly physiologically able than other physiological freaks"

Maybe so, Nick, but can you think of one in cycling over the last couple of decades who hasn't turned out to be juiced to the eyeballs?

If Froome's clean, then I do feel sorry for him, but the suspicion around him and Sky is entirely understandable given the recent history of cycling.

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Leviathan [1988 posts] 3 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:

People come along every decade or so who are more freakishly physiologically able than other physiological freaks in every sport. They had the cream of the genes. The 1 in 10 milion best of everything.

Look at Usain Bolt, he doesn't train 'really' hard and is easily the fastest sprinter, why because of his freakishly long legs. Whatever those little snails did to Froome is hasn't harmed him. Fingers crossed for posterity.

Hopefully Murdoch will be in jail where he deserves to be and/or dead in ten years time.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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arrieredupeleton wrote:
mrmo wrote:

that sky are happy to share so much data suggests to me they are clean. Would you want to be in the **** storm in 5-10 years time when tests have evolved and the drugs are found?

Look at the law suits flyinh round lance now, do you think Murdoch wouldn't sue for his money if Sky are found to have been cheating?

The tests may not be there now, but they will be. Look at the LA era, it is tests now that are highlighting how bad the problem was.

I happen to agree with much of what you say, apart from the Murdoch bit. Neither father or son have an scruples whatsoever. Ask Lord Leveson.

I'm not sure the suggestion was that the Murdoch clan are whiter than white

Maybe more like they are vindictive b*st*rds who would not take kindly to being screwed over

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mrmo [2077 posts] 3 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:

Maybe more like they are vindictive b*st*rds who would not take kindly to being screwed over

This, not just Murdoch either, rather the whole of News International etc. They have put a lot of money into cycling, think about the BC team as well as Sky, i believe that if the publicity turned bad they would screw everyone they could to get their money back.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 3 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:

People come along every decade or so who are more freakishly physiologically able than other physiological freaks in every sport. They had the cream of the genes. The 1 in 10 milion best of everything.

This isn't a particularly great understanding of genetics. People talk about genetic outliers. They are possible, but the variance (when it comes to elite athletes) is not particularly great. Unfortunately, because we humans are pretty good at gene swapping (especially in the modern age) we don't really create extremes, which you might otherwise do it you were a cut off community.

Another way of looking at it, is that in order to get an extreme being you need generations of iterations which lead to body adaptations. Good genes when it comes to sport is a bit of an anathema.

A cynic might point out that Froome's beneficial abilities are consistent with steroid abuse.

Personally WADA and UKADA are not saying anything here which is not politically structured. Basically, they are saying Froome and Sky are an 'open book' when it comes to doping. The final chapter has yet to be written.....I'm not sure the good doctor at L'Equipe is saying much either.

Watch this space.......

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 3 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:
aslongasicycle wrote:

People come along every decade or so who are more freakishly physiologically able than other physiological freaks in every sport. They had the cream of the genes. The 1 in 10 milion best of everything.

Look at Usain Bolt, he doesn't train 'really' hard and is easily the fastest sprinter, why because of his freakishly long legs. Whatever those little snails did to Froome is hasn't harmed him. Fingers crossed for posterity.

Hopefully Murdoch will be in jail where he deserves to be and/or dead in ten years time.

I don't believe in Bolt. As much as I find his public persona charming and engaging I wouldn't trust a Jamaican sprinter any further than I could throw him. The long legs and different body type suggests a new way of doping, not that he is genetic outlier. Isn't it interesting that the only other person to run anywhere near as fast as him is also his training partner? I don't think that is a coincidence.

The reason the UCI put the limit on hematocrit at 50 back in the 90s was that no human being has ever had a hematocrit that high. It was an arbitrary limit set to allow for an outlier. What happened is that people boosted their bloods to that level to ensure they maximised their performances. We exist in a time when pharmaceuticals are creating hormones (such as EPO) which mirror our exist hormones, and there are new chemicals being produced all the time which the testers have not developed a test for. It's very difficult for the anti-dopers to detect these, except to say that the hormones (or the product of hormones in the case of EPO) exceed certain levels, or that other markers are unrealistic. The problem is defining what is normal, as I think someone else said, and so can it be proven without doubt - this was effectively LA argument - there was no evidence that could show, without doubt, that he did dope and therefore was able to boss the show.

Cycling has not changed markedly since then and the only dopers they seem to catch are also rans.....if you dope, it's not to finish 'well', but to place. I think that the world of sport is closing ranks at the moment to save cycling and I can understand that. Froome does not appear to be an egotist, not arrogant and I appreciate his effort. I don't think that if he is doping he is the only one. It's just a minefield of the science being ahead of the anti-doping - and until one matches the other you'll always have it.

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Simon E [2727 posts] 3 years ago
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John Stevenson wrote:

"People come along every decade or so who are more freakishly physiologically able than other physiological freaks"

Maybe so, Nick, but can you think of one in cycling over the last couple of decades who hasn't turned out to be juiced to the eyeballs?

Greg LeMond.

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Not KOM [79 posts] 3 years ago
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Simon E wrote:
John Stevenson wrote:

"People come along every decade or so who are more freakishly physiologically able than other physiological freaks"

Maybe so, Nick, but can you think of one in cycling over the last couple of decades who hasn't turned out to be juiced to the eyeballs?

Greg LeMond.

This, and Cadel Evans, and Bradley Wiggins. Maybe even Andy Schleck ... but I'm too sure about him.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 3 years ago
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Any proof that Big Mig ever doped? (genuine question, not seen anything on it personally)

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Decster [246 posts] 3 years ago
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Super Domestique wrote:

Any proof that Big Mig ever doped? (genuine question, not seen anything on it personally)

Indurain tested positive at the 1994 Tour de l'Oise. Salbutamol was banned in France at the time but had not yet found its way onto the UCI's banned list. Indurain was not sanctioned.

Dutch broadcaster NOS quoted Italian investigator Sandro Donati who claimed that Banesto riders including Indurain were involved with Dr Conconi and another source corroborated the story.

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Decster [246 posts] 3 years ago
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anyone care to explain the 'huge gains' for Alpe D'huez from.

2008 | Chris Froome: 51 min 13 sec.
2013 | Chris Froome: 40 min 56 sec.

Grappe specifically tweeted that he doesn't pass judgment on whether Froome is clean or not. He certainly does NOT say he thinks Froome is clean

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Decster [246 posts] 3 years ago
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In case some fans of Froome think Grappe and L'Equipe cannot be wrong, well L'Equipe have a vested interest in the Le Tour and well Grappe thought Armstrong was clean in 2001

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/results/2001/feb01/feb09news.shtml

Well done Brailsford for finding a guy who would get it wrong again.

As for Brailsford suggesting WADA, he would know that WADA would never ever do such as thing as look at figures and pass a rider as clean. UKAD have come out said similar saying they do not issue 'Kite marks' for riders.

For those that can see, Sky have failed to prove anything but create more doubts about their team and riders.

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 3 years ago
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Decster wrote:

anyone care to explain the 'huge gains' for Alpe D'huez from.

2008 | Chris Froome: 51 min 13 sec.
2013 | Chris Froome: 40 min 56 sec.

Grappe specifically tweeted that he doesn't pass judgment on whether Froome is clean or not. He certainly does NOT say he thinks Froome is clean

Well he was 22, in a pants team, not in yellow, probably not going full gas and lots of other unknowable stuff.
It's not a worthy comparison.

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Decster [246 posts] 3 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:
Decster wrote:

anyone care to explain the 'huge gains' for Alpe D'huez from.

2008 | Chris Froome: 51 min 13 sec.
2013 | Chris Froome: 40 min 56 sec.

Grappe specifically tweeted that he doesn't pass judgment on whether Froome is clean or not. He certainly does NOT say he thinks Froome is clean

Well he was 22, in a pants team, not in yellow, probably not going full gas and lots of other unknowable stuff.
It's not a worthy comparison.

So lets not try hard becuase the team are rank amateurs and Froome didn't want to show his talents on the biggest stage and a famous mountain to boot.

He was 22, most who were great GT talents showed early. Froome has destroyed everyone. He wasn't showing that at 22.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 3 years ago
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Alpe d'Huez isn't a laboratory and the tour de france isn't a controlled experiment, so comparing two performances five years apart doesn't tell us much. variables include training regime and racing schedule leading up to the stage, miles ridden in the season, position of the climb in the race, length and difficulty of the stage, position of the rider in the race, role of the rider in the race, team orders during the stage, weather, whether the rider was having a good day or a bad one, etc, etc, etc.

Grappe certainly doesn't say Froome is clean. but at least he's being useful in the debate, decster. you should try it. just saying 'difference between two numbers equals doping' doesn't really help anyone.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 3 years ago
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Decster wrote:

most who were great GT talents showed early

oh well that proves it then. that's not woolly at all.

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Decster [246 posts] 3 years ago
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Dave, you are on the side of Sky as you make money from their success indirectly.

Would you bite the hand the feeds you?

This a cycling site, not a journalistic one so i dont expect you to be balanced. Also based in UK with its horrendous libel laws you have to be careful.

So we can all accept Grappe is a credible analyst, the guy who got it so wrong on Armstrong?

I am a massive fan of the sport of cycling. I have watched since the early 80's. I reckon i can be a decent judge of what I am seeing on a bike on a mountain. If others dont, grand.

Froome is not clean imo.

I will leave Road.cc to its sky love fest. That people have not learned from the past is a human trait, so i am not surprised in a UK website now refusing to see one of its own doping.

May the road rise with y'all.

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