Froome says tests prove he rides clean, though doubters remain

Fri Dec 4, 2015 11:58am EST
 
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - British cyclist Chris Froome said on Friday that tests he took after winning the Tour de France proved that he does not use performance-enhancing drugs, although at least one rival coach said they would not silence the doubters.

The tests were carried out at the GlaxoSmithKline Human Performance Lab in London in August, a few weeks after the Tour, and the results he released suggest that a huge weight loss could help explain his rapid rise from 2007, when at 22 he was a rough diamond at best, to Tour champion in 2013 and 2015.

During this year's race, Froome was accused of doping by former riders, reporters and fans of a race that has been beset by doping scandals for almost 20 years, and had to strip seven-times winner Lance Armstrong of his titles. Some fans even threw urine at Froome, who has always vigorously denied doping.

"The figures make one thing very clear to me, if I ever needed any reminder," Froome said in a statement. "Natural ability is only one piece of the puzzle of what it takes to win an event like the Tour de France. I have always prided myself on my work ethic, dedication and perseverance."

Frederic Grappe, performance director at the French team FDJ who helped France's Thibaut Pinot finish third in the 2014 Tour, told Reuters that the best way to assess Froome's performance would be to release his power output data over the years.

"The tests are a step in the right direction but it's not accurate enough," Grappe said.

There was one indicator, however, that suggested Froome is not a donkey turned into a racehorse: the "VO2 max", which is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption. The higher the reading, the fitter the athlete.

"One thing is sure, his VO2 max suggests he has the engine to achieve what he's achieved," said Grappe.   Continued...

 
Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain wears the race leader's yellow jersey as he speeds downhill during the 110.5-km (68.6 miles) 20th stage of the 102nd Tour de France cycling race from Modane to Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps mountains, France, in this picture taken July 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/Files