Tour de France champion Chris Froome hopes physiological data silences critics
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/12/15 9:22am
Chris Froome has released physiological data he hopes "stand the test of time" having been accused of not riding clean at the Tour de France.
The 30-year-old was subject to innuendo and scrutiny during the summer, doused with urine and called a doper while on his way to claiming a second yellow jersey.
Scientists are reporting the two-time Tour de France winner's performance in laboratory tests was at the upper limits for humans, but Froome is happy to at least try to answer his critics, given cycling's past.
The Team Sky rider told Esquire: "Questions do need to be asked. As long as the questions are fair, I'm happy to answer them.
"What gets my back up is when those questions turn into straightforward accusations. I know what I've done to get here. I'm the only one who can really say 100 per cent that I'm clean.
"I haven't broken the rules. 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."
Esquire has published three sets of data online with the first set from 2007, the second from this year's Tour and the third from August's independent tests.
The climate of suspicion is a result of cycling's dark history, a spectre of doping including the fraud of Lance Armstrong, who won seven Tour titles from 1999 to 2005 aided by the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Froome's Team Sky squad released performance data during the Tour, relating to the commanding win on stage 10 to La Pierre Saint Martin, in a bid to quell suspicion, but his critics would not be convinced.
The Kenya-born Briton agreed to undergo independent testing, which took place at GlaxoSmithKline's human performance laboratory in London in August, the results of which were published by Esquire magazine on Thursday evening.
A separate scientific paper is also to be published.
Froome's VO2 max - the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use, measured in millilitres per kilogramme of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min) - was recorded as 84.6. At his Tour-winning weight it would correlate to 88.2.
The general population has a VO2 max of 35 to 40, with highly trained individuals in the 50s and 60s.
A few athletes have been measured in the 90s, including three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond.
Phillip Bell, a senior sports scientist at GSK, said Froome's values were "close to what we believe are the upper limits for VO2 peak in humans."
Froome's peak power and sustained power, which he should be able to manage for a period of 20 to 40 minutes, were also measured, at 525 watts and 419 watts, respectively.
The figure corresponds to 5.98 watts-per-kilogram. At his Tour weight of 67kg, it would be 6.25w/kg, the Esquire article suggests.
Froome also passed on his performance data from testing in the early days of his career, in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 25, 2007. Froome weighed 75.6kg - 8kg more than his current race weight - but had a peak power of 540 and sustained power of 420.
His peak power was 15 watts higher than in August 2015 and sustained power one watt higher. His VO2 max was 80.2.
Cycling has a history of blood doping and uses the biological passport to track for anomalies which could indicate use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods.
Froome also published his blood readings, relating to his La Pierre Saint Martin win and the day of the independent physiological testing. On each occasion his haemoglobin was 15.3 grams per litre.
Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour before Froome triumphed a year later, is among those to question if the testing would change perceptions.