Froome Power Released

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This article at is about the release of Froome’s power data by the Sky Team. They showed his power data to French physiologist Frederic Grappe and Frederic gave Chris Froome a clean bill of health. No doping. Consistent with hard work.

A problem that they have with this is that Frederic also defended Lance Armstrong over a decade ago, when it has been proven, that Lance was in the middle of “the biggest doping fraud in the history of sport”. Below is an article about his comments about Lance.

I have no idea if any of this means anything about Chris Froome racing his bike clean. I do know that it was a very bad choice by Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford to pick a guy like Grappe, who obviously has made some very wrong conclusions and public statements in the past.

This instrument tells us all.

This instrument tells us all.

From 2001

Frédéric Grappe on anti-doping and Armstrong

La Francaise des Jeux trainer, Frédéric Grappe, has come out in support of Lance Armstrong, after doping accusations have been leveled at him and the U.S. Postal team. In an in depth interview with L’Equipe, Grappe said that Armstrong’s results have come through hard work and not hard drugs, despite the climate of suspicion that still surrounds cycling (especially in France) at the moment.

Grappe started by saying that to fight doping in general, the role of a good trainer is paramount. They must be able to set a program that will not over-tax their riders but keep them in top shape for a certain competition period. Some top riders already do this, although they are subsequently criticised by fans for not riding the whole season at their best. Not everyone can be an Eddy Merckx.

“A great many riders spend their time during the week at home unsupervised,” said Grappe. “The trade is so difficult that sometimes they are mentally quite low, in a state of weakness. In these moments of great loneliness one could suppose that a very influential person could propose things to a rider. I know this for a fact…I do not blame the riders, but the system because it would only take a few things to change it.”

Grappe believes that doctors are given too much status by the FFC and the UCI, compared with trainers such as himself who know the riders. “It is necessary to work from the base and to develop riders with quality supervision from teams…to offer the riders a true ‘alternative’ to doping.”

He then commented on the accusations that have been made against Lance Armstrong regarding ‘impossible’ power outputs. “Certain people say silly things. When we are told that a rider is not able to put out 420 – 430 Watts in a time trial, that is false. Not so long ago, one of the riders with whom I was involved climbed Mont Faron at a power of 400 Watts for 20 minutes, and he is far from being Armstrong. Consequently, I am not astonished that Armstrong or others can produce 460 or 470 Watts on a mountain. It is not impossible.”

In addition, a cadence of 80-90 rpm to produce this power on climbs is also not impossible, according to Grappe. “It is the result of many days of hard work. With what has happened in the past 10 years, many riders are using bigger gear ratios. Some have lost the suppleness, i.e. they are not able to utilise higher pedalling frequencies…a high pedalling frequency makes it possible to relieve the muscles,” said Grappe who expressed his annoyance of people’s poor analysis of the data.

Grappe also commented about the inaccuracy of hematocrit testing, which he said can change by up to 5 percent depending on the status of the rider (upright, lying down, dehydrated, previously active etc.). “We see riders who can reach 50% naturally, and that can move to 51%. That does not mean doping.”

15 thoughts on “Froome Power Released

  1. Koenig

    This raises more suspicion and questions.
    Why make the data available to l’Equipe and Grappe with his poor analytical conclusions in the past?
    Why not make power data available prior to 2011?
    Why wouldn’t they measure Froom’s VO2max? I am no expert in this area, but I ride my bicycle with a power meter and I have a pretty good idea of what my VO2max is!
    Why not publish the section of his power data for the 2-3 minutes of attack when he dropped Contador on Mont Ventoux?

  2. channel_zero

    How does someone at sky pick THE ONE GUY among a world full of sports scientists that covered up Armstrong’s doping?

    This smells like a classic UCI blunder.

  3. bryan

    One news outlet reported that Sky released the data to lequipe & lequipe chose Grappe to analyze the data. If true, Sky isn’t to blame for the poor choice in experts. Ultimately the power data, even if perfectly “normal”, accomplishes nothing because it is so easy to falsify via data file manipulation.

  4. Mark

    Well said Steve, as always… After watching Froome on Ventoux sprint away from Contador w/ afterburners on I watched a youtube video of Delgado climbing Ventoux same spot in ’86 TDF time trial. Delgado’s speed visibly much slower and Froome was during end of long RR. They can say what they want but Froome just seems too fast too soon IMO. Fast forward 5 years and we will be reading about Sky being the new “biggest doping fraud” in cycling

  5. sky skeptic

    Where’s Och in the genesis of doping in cycling? He was Hein’s stockbroker, after all. I am sure that was all coincidental (wink, wink)

    ask these tough questions of BMC, too. Fair is fair

  6. Steve

    SKY released the date to L’Equipe and allowed them to choose ANY expert they wanted. Grappe wasn’t the choice of Brailsford or SKY so a little unfair to criticise them for it.

  7. David

    “Consistent with hard work” are your words, not Grappe’s. He just said the performances are consistent. In his twitter feed, Grappe said that he does not have enough information to determine if Froome is doping.

  8. Tim

    Grappe’s analysis seems a bit too simplistic for me. The rule of thumb for power fall off between 20 mins and 60 mins for instance. Would be interesting for a coach versed in more modern methods could analyse the data.

  9. Laurens van Rooijen

    Not only is Fred Grappe one of the last experts I would have asked (due to his role in clearing Armstrong back in the day), I also would like to raise some doubt on methodology:
    SKY hands out THEIR selection of data and stages (18 stages over two seasons leaves plenty of room to take out suspicious data sets), which then is being analyzed by ONE expert and not a panel. Sorry, but this is not a way to prove anything. Brailsford still has to live up to his transparency promises. Not doing so only boosts suspicion and brings up further allegations. It baffles me that a team backed by a media giant is so bad when it comes to crisis communication. Brailsford may well be a highly successful manager, as his role in building the British track team and then Team SKY proves, but the man is not a good communicator. He needs professional help for that.

  10. Benotti69

    So why don’t Sky pick the most credible person in the world to analyse all Froome’s data from his time at Sky from the 1st day to now, 2010 – 2013?

    I think we can guess the answer to that 😉


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