Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford believes the WorldTour outfit’s computers have been hacked to obtain Chris Froome’s training data in an attempt to prove he is doping.
Brailsford made the revalation at a press conference in Pau yesterday in response to being asked whether Froome can expect to be quizzed over doping now the race has entered the mountains.
He said: “It’s part of the game, isn’t it? If he does well [today], the rest of the Tour it’s ‘How do you know he’s not doping?’
“The question of how to prove a negative is always going to be a difficult one. We think someone has hacked into our training data and got Chris’s files, so we’ve got some legal guys on the case there.
“I would never mention a name but ethically and morally, if you are going to accuse someone of doping, then don’t cheat.”
Froome faced questions over doping during the 2013 Tour de France, which he won, and has consistently maintained that he is riding clean.
The 30-year-old, who is the only current cyclist known to have testified to the UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission, has also said that people on social media who use riders’ power data to try and find clues they may be doping are “clowns.”
Brailsford added: “I used to worry about it a lot more but I don’t any more. It’s part of the game. Just try to be honest, tell the truth, be open.”
Yesterday, a video appeared on YouTube showing the Mont Ventoux stage of the 2013 Tour de France, won by Froome, overlaid with what purported to be the rider’s data.
The latter had apparently been supplied by Antoine Vayer to Twitter user @oufeh – that account has now been deleted, and the video taken down from YouTube.
Vayer, who from 1995 to 1998 was a trainer at the Festina team, raised suspicions Froome and Wiggins Sir Bradley Wiggins shortly before the 2013 Tour de France when he published his e-book, Not Normal? An insight into doping and the 21 biggest riders from LeMond to Armstrong to Evans.
As outlined in a report on VeloNews at the time, he said Froome’s performance the previous year had been “miraculous,” with Wiggins’ yellow-jersey winning exploits at the 2012 Tour merely “suspicious,” according to the scale devised by the author.
Responding to the publication, Team Sky said at the time: “Both Chris and Bradley have received your email and each has considered their response.
“They have been asked many times before about their stance on doping and their approach to performance.
“It’s all already firmly on the record; neither has used banned substances or illegal practices. Team Sky’s approach to conditioning and coaching is also well documented.
“We know exactly how our riders prepare and perform and the true science behind this. And we have our own accurate data that we can rely on to support this.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.