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August 20, 2017
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  • jakub

    I really can’t quite understand why is Chris Froome so surprised that there are doubts about his performances with the PR stance that Team Sky has – zero transparency. If that is a team policy, he should at first blame Dave Brailsford, not journalists. Sky didn’t do a single thing to clear this up (oh yes, they released his post 2011 Vuelta data to some French coach in 2013) . I really can’t see a single reason why he can’t release performance data over longer period, mainly before his 2011 Vuelta breakthrough. Froome claimed several times that he should have his power files even from Barloword era. I mean, he doesn’t need to release all his training rides to reveal specific training schedule Sky is using – just data from several races and maybe few test training rides, or perhaps his power curve over time would be enough. There is nothing that could his fellow competitors gain from seeing data like this. It is really a shame if we consider that there is an increasing number of WorldTour athletes sharing all their training data on Strava… Brailsford claimed several times that he always had a big engine, and at the same time Tim Kerrison said in one interview that Froome’s raw power didn’t change much over the time. If this is all true, then why they just don’t show the proof? Also, those “pseudoscience” rebuttals are quite strange as well, especially if models used by Tucker and co. almost exactly estimated his power from the leaked 2013 Ventoux files (388W vs 389W).

    • Tom Wells

      I both agree with you and Chris Froome as well. I do think Sky need to be a bit more transparent (without giving too much away) but at the same time all the doubts about Chris’ performance so far is nothing but speculation. From his point of view, he probably felt really good after his dominant performance almost a week ago, chuffed with himself and yet everyone now thinks he’s a doper. I’d also be asking questions of the media and former pro’s that start pointing fingers.

      Saying all that though, I do think the biological passport does need to be built upon. There needs to be a more comprehensive ‘sporting passport’ that covers all the biological, power and VO2 data over a period of time. If teams and / or riders want to keep their training programmes secret then the UCI should keep this data private. It’s a simple and effective solution that should eliminate most of the current doubts behind a riders performance.

    • BenW

      I’m no fan of his, but how is Froome any more or less credible than any of the other front runners? Why should it be Sky who have to be transparent? Everybody knows what a state Astana and their sub-teams have been in over the past year or so, but I don’t recall anyone in the media demanding transparency and power data after their frankly unbelieveable team performance at the Giro this year. Landa and Aru, plus a bunch of previously solid-but-unspectacular pros bossing the front day after day after day. And that’s without mentioning Contador beating them to the Giro win.There should be transparency for all, and balance, or none at all. Equal treatment, equal hounding.

      • Mellow Jessica

        Sky fanboy asks why it should be Team Sky who take the lead in transparency? Uhhhh…b/c it’s their skeletor-like rider who’s dominating the race and turning in repeat barely-plausible performances, after having undergone a miracle transformation as a rider that defies credulity (becoming a GT star in late-20s despite showing no GC potential in his early 20s – unlike Fignon, Hinault, LeMond and Merckx.

        Froome just following a trend started by Indurain…

      • Dave

        Because he’s smashing even Astana.

    • Whippet

      Hi Jakub,
      I agree that there is some hypocrisy. Those who call the analysis of Tucker et al ‘pseudoscience’ don’t seem to be willing to examine the entirety of the data.

    • OGS_SD

      agreed. The “pseudoscience” is the real reason I have to be suspicious about the whole Sky thing.
      If you are 183 cm (6″0″ for yankees). I come to you and say, I have a pretty good reason to believe you are 183 cm, I can estimate from looking at you from where I am, and I have done this for 100s of other humans and it works extremely reliable.

      Then you say: “This is ridiculous. I am not 183 cm – that’s pseudoscience. You are SO wrong, you are an idiot!”.

      Why would they do this? Do they really think we are this stupid? Anyone who spent any time cycling knows that on a steep climb, say 6-8% and higher, you can pretty much determine the power if you know the weight and the time. Wind is not much of a factor most of the time, so why contradict the obvious?

      To me, this is a sign of something they are trying to hide. While claiming to be “transparent”.

      Having said that, I am not sure Ventoux data proves much. Yes he has super-low heart rate that doesn’t change when he attacks. Which is weird. But he looks even more weird on the bike. So what? Power? to most people 389 is the same as 359 or 289. Just some number.

      Barloworld data may be interesting. I always wondered – if one explanation that Froome is such a naturally gifted freak, how come he was holding on to cars (and got kicked off Giro for it) during his early years? He is really a late bloomer. Whatever you think of Quintana, Contador, Nibali, Tejay, they all showed off their talent while being very young, early 20ies. Froome didn’t do much impressive at all until 2011, his second season with Sky when he was 26 years old.

  • velomonkey

    “380 watts sustainable for 30 minutes” – from that guy. Somewhere a bunch of calorie counting masters racers are crying in their morning oatmeal.

    • Sean Doyle

      He was a phenomenal athlete and shows even know how gifted he was/is.

    • Stompin

      Oh man, faceplant into the oatmeal… 380 watts, only in my dreams :(

  • Richard Smith

    Auto-play on-screen video ad? Screw this.

  • Whippet

    A voice of reason in the din of the media and marketing noise. He was marginalised before for talking sense. Will people listen this time?

  • Derek Maher

    While I agree with Greg on more transparency about Team methods.Releasing VO2 data on pro riders could cause problems.Say a Team Rider has a natural VO2 max way above other Team members.Plus this trends through the other pro teams.We will see a V02 race with riders being fired and replaced on a genetic basis given all the teams are dope free.Given a ton of money one would develop a team from area,s of the world known for a natural high VO2 max and the diversity of the peloton would shrink very quickly.Many young people could forget their dream of being a pro rider and settle for Darts or snooker as an alternative. Just a thought.

    • Stompin

      I’m not convinced… these guys have to suffer, suffer like pigs, don’t forget the mental capacity needed to ride like that too!

  • Lemond = Fraud

    Greg Lemond is the Bill Cosby of cycling, clean image speaking of morality in cycling, yet he competed in a era where drugs were rampant across all sports, good for him for getting away with it, to bad he feels he needs to be moral and condemn others for the things he himself did.

    • Shane Stokes

      Whatever your opinion is – and plenty would defend Greg and how he won his races – comparing him to Bill Cosby is pretty low.

    • Jonathan.

      Seriously? Comparing someone who drugged and raped women over many years to a cyclist who may or may not have doped? You wouldn’t even taint Lance with that comparison.

    • Stompin

      Dude, crap comment, totally out of line.

    • velomonkey

      Congrats – you had a twofer. You achieved Goodwin’s law in just over 10 comments AND you didn’t go with Nazis, you personalized it to a rapist. BRAVO. BRAVO. (I really hope my sarcasm registered, not sure my disdain did, though)

    • Burt Fleming

      Lemond=Fraud The Lance EPO era drove clean riders out of cycling. Guys like LeMond and Andy Hampsten had no choice but to let the drug train destroy everything and everyone in its wake. You seem upset that LeMond is trying to offer great opinions that could help clean up a once great sport. There has never been one shred of evidence against LeMond as a Lance doper. Its one thing to offer an opinion but is entirely another to slander someone so openly, at least as openly as an anonymous poster on the internet can. Are you ashamed of your name? You obviously are for hiding in the dark…think about that coward.

    • Whippet

      Is that you Lance?

  • Daniel

    This focus on inferring doping from performance is misplaced.

    Armstrong wasn’t brought down by measuring his performance, and nor was he brought down by being tested positive.

    He was brought down by quality investigative journalism and his teammates selling him out. He was brought down because the UCI was previously complicit with his doping but then withdrew its protection.

    Doping will always have an edge in the science arms race, simply because the testing is responsive to the doping developments. The focus really needs to be on tracking whereabouts and relationships to dodgy doctors, and actually coming down on dopers who are caught in a meaningful way.

    That means that Ullisi should not be in the peloton, and nor should Contador, Valverde, Basso et al. This obviously cannot be done retrospectively, but the UCI has to clamp down and say “you are responsible for what goes in your system. If you are caught, you will not be permitted back”.

    • OGS_SD

      “He was brought down by quality investigative journalism and his teammates selling him out. He was brought down because the UCI was previously complicit with his doping but then withdrew its protection.”

      NO. He was not brought down by “journalism”, please.

      He was not brought down because of “teammates” or “UCI”.

      He was brought down because of federal investigation headed by Jeff Novitzky, who brought down Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
      Landis has been making accusations for a while until Novitzky came along. It’s amazing what federal subpoena can do – even most loyal Lance-boys like Hincapie, Leipheimer etc had to confess. Lance being a dick did not help, but there is NO WAY they would have spilled the bins on their own.

      Journalists did not do their job. If anything, guys like David Wash made it seem like a witch-hunt with no evidence. He was out to sell books and trying to be controversial, which made him sound like a conspiracy theorist, that he perhaps was, instead of doing his diligence and talking to the people he needed to talk to. He could have collected evidence and talked to people in Armstrong’s circle first. Someone would have talked. Instead he liked to go to press conferences and ask Lance why is he doping, which is great for self-promotion and for selling books, but also terrible for painting yourself as a zealot who is not impartial in any way.

      60 minutes, Oprah, that all came after the whole Novitzky thing was basically over. Journalists failed. And Landis was the only one who spoke against Lance. When he burned him on ToC participation thing. Where was Livingston, VdV, Danielson, Hincapie, Leipheimer, Horner etc.? Scared that’s where. Teammates didn’t bring down Lance. Journalists didn’t do it either. It was MOST CERTAINLY NOT UCI, are you kidding me?

      It was a guy with a badge. Jeff Novitzky. The guy who has no books to sell, no close connections to Armstrong, no Eurosport or NBC Sports future, no whistleblower suit worth hundreds of millions, just a job to do.

      • Burt Fleming

        Great points but I respectfully disagree with your opinion of journalists and David Walsh. Without these journalists, everyone would have continued with the blind admiration of Lance and USPS. There were a lot of journalists that did not buy the facade that Lance sold to everyone. That heat, was needed to continue to weed through the garbage. Journalists made the connections between the blood samples that were ‘coded’ and later linked to Armstrong. Many journalists witnessed Lance’s people burying ‘waste’ that is now understood as part of the ‘Program’. Walsh took up the fight with some very well researched books on Armstrong. He really needed to win over people that were scared of Armstrong or had been sued/ruined or attacked by Lance (Walsh and his newspaper were sued as well). All of these stories written about Lance, who was, in the public eyes, untouchable; Lance was almost royalty here in the US. Remember how not so long ago, the reality of what the journalists wrote painted the correct picture of who Lance really was/is. Lance still has not admitted to everything (hospital room confession), Lance wants immunity so bad, maybe as bad as a ‘maillot jaune’.

        That in turn helped Bob Hamman to his decision to not pay Armstrong his bonus money and lead to a Master Bridge Player in Hamman to be the only person to get Armstrong under oath. Journalists were the finger that pushed over the dominoes, in my opinion. It was a very important link in the chain. Sure once Jeff got involved, it changed a lot but all of his work was dropped and then taken up by Tygart and that was the knock out punch that leveled Lance and his camp: USADA’s Reasoned Decision. The ‘Reasoned Decision’ was released to the public in its entirety when Lance’s team was trying to spy and get scraps of the report-exposing Lance in such a grand way that it lead to him having to call his ol’ buddy Oprah. Also, Tyler Hamilton’s book written with Daniel Coyle: The Secret Race gave a insider’s view of the Lance story that was devestating to people that believed in Armstrong. It is a powerful book on the ‘win at all costs’ that Lance lived and breathed. This book also told the story of how Tyler’s testimony, given reluctantly to protect ‘omerta’, which lead to Tyler’s complete testimony because of the relief it brought him.

        • OGS_SD

          And of course there was Betsy Andreu and to lesser extent Frankie, as well as Emma O’Reilly and many others. But they weren’t the ones who topped Lance.

          Well, ask yourself a simple question – would Armstrong be brought down by Walsh’s books and Landis’ books and Hamilton’s books alone? We know the answer is NO. They were published and publicized for a while – long before Armstrong’s downfall and largely dismissed by general audience as irrelevant fiction. Maybe insider crowd like you and me paid attention but Walsh seemed like a zealot out to get Armstrong, and Landis and Hamilton were admitted cheaters who said they were innocent and denied denied denied, until finally saying “Well, everyone and also Lance did it”. Nobody really cared. Fans even had negative reactions to Landis. Remember “F*ck Floyd!” and “Shut up Floyd” signs in Tour of California? I do.

          It was not until feds were involved that the dominos – Leipeimer, VdV, Danielson, Livingston, and many others Eki, Chechu, Popo, etc. – started falling. Lance fought it tooth and nail because he was sure he could win it in public opinion – he survived Walsh/Landis/Hamilton storm, so why not? He gambled and he lost, because he didn’t appreciate the power of federal subpoena. He could survive journalists, and books and UCI. He couldn’t handle testimony under oath in federal case.

          No, it was really the power of federal government that those guys testified and gave the leverage to Novitzky to do what he did. Without them we would be nowhere and Lance would still be the king.
          Journalists were just biting at Lance’s ankles, Novitzky was the one who delivered a fatal blow to the head.

          To reverse the question, Novitzky would be successful even without Walsh, Hamilton and Landis. He had plenty of firepower from testimonies. Perhaps book and attention served as catalysis, I don’t know. But it wasn’t super-crucial.

          My original point is – where is Walsh and Lemond now? The excuse of “it was only because of Ferrari connection” is pathetic. It wasn’t Ferrari, or anyone else that got Lance in cross-hairs. It was the way Lance blatantly blew away competition by minutes and climbed better than Pantani, he came from nowhere (in terms of GC promise) to build himself into best of the best, win in most dominant fashion, and anyone who joined his team all of a sudden was a super-climber overnight. This is what is happening now with Sky and I have not heard Walsh or Lemond say one thing critical of Sky. Why is that? If Postal was doing this, do you think they would keep quiet? If Hincapie suddenly was placing top 10 on most mountain stages and staying in top 10 overall, do you think fans would theorize how he is such a natural talent and was always a classics star and no surprise he can climb with the 130 lb specialists? It’s equivalent to Quintana winning Paris Roubaix or a bunch sprint against Cavendish, Kittel and Greipel.

          Speaking of Ferrari, Nibali has proven recent connections to Ferrari (no word about that either) and Froome puts Nibali away like he is a fat lady on a tricycle.

  • OGS_SD

    what bothers me is entire something else. When Lemond was an outsider, he was saying to anyone who would be willing to listen, openly and loudly, that Lance is a fraud, based on his performances and his team being so much better than anyone else.

    In retrospect (and I doubted his motivation at the time), he was 100% right.

    Now we have Froome outperforming whatever level Lance has ever done, and even Froome’s teammates finish 2nd and then another one, former track racer, in top 10 on key mountain stage. Outpacing top contenders and multiple Grand Tour winners. This is like Hincapie and Eki outclimbing Ulrich and Beloki back in early 2000’s.

    Or Hincapie winning mountain-top stage. Or Landis winning the tour with amazing 30K breakaway to claim 3 minutes. (Ok, relax, I was being facetious on the last two)

    So you would have thought Lemond, as well as David Walsh and all the Lance bashers would be so vocal against Froome. But Walsh has completely shut down, after some Sky lobbying he thinks Froome is totally legit.

    Lemond has not gone completely soft on Froome, but now that he is on Eurosport his tune has totally changed. He speaks in generalities and is totally afraid to say what he thinks.

    ““My deal with this is not about Chris Froome or anybody specific. It is more about the tools are there with the UCI and the Tour de France,” he said, speaking after his post-stage show on Eurosport.

    “It is not just one rider. Nobody likes to have the speculation that has been going on. Maybe in the future we should bring in the best research scientists, we should bring in the best qualified VO2 Max machines.”

    END Quote

    Imagine if he said this in Lance timeframe – I don’t blame Lance, or US Postal, they are great, I just wish cycling federations did their job that’s all.
    Seriously, Greg, that’s all you want? VO2 machines and cycling scientists, but you have no opinion of your own and you would never want to single out a rider or a team? Oh wait, you did that with US Postal and Lance, based on performance alone and no inside info – so what is the difference?

    • FearUncertaintyDoubt

      One simple explanation is that he doesn’t have any insider information on Froome that he did have on Lance. Lemond knew who Michele Ferrari was. He also had been hearing from people who were witness to Lance doping. Greg Lemond knew 100% that Lance was doping and still he didn’t come right out and accuse him. So if he’s being cagey about Froome it’s understandable. He may be suspicious but it’s unlikely he has anywhere near the info he had on Lance.

      • Burt Fleming

        FearUncertaintyDoubt Well put. I agree, LeMond has been through the ringer by Lance and his people. Was almost ruined. LeMond is finally getting the rewards a cyclist like himself should have always enjoyed. LeMond is not going to make a declarative statement , until he knows for sure. LeMond is not in the position so many ‘anonymous’ commentators are here on the web. He is going to protect himself, his family, his image and his business. He is asking for numbers, he has great knowledge and wants clean sport. Froome’s performance, real or enhanced, have opened up the door to transparency and LeMond is just the guy that can help both teams and governing bodies take a step to validity.

        • OGS_SD

          How was it that Lemond knew for a fact that Lance was doping? He was inferring from looking at performances, with his own eyes, and comparing it to what he knew. That’s how. He never saw Lance inject.

          To paraphrase Yogi Berra, he saw because he was looking. Same applies to Froome. But Lemond is afraid to call him out. Maybe because he has a job to lose and not much to gain.

          • FearUncertaintyDoubt

            Lemond was getting first-hand accounts from people who witnessed it. And Armstrong was openly working with Michele Ferrari who was known for his doping regimens.

    • Mellow Jessica

      Maybe the difference is that LeMond could pretty confidently infer that Armstrong was doping … and draw this inference at a time when others were unable to confidently do the same … while w/r/t Froome, he has nowhere near the same familiarity and first-hand interaction w/ the subject to make such a bold claim.

      LeMond denounced Armstrong for doping b/c he could confidently infer that Lance’s transformation was synthetic. Perhaps LeMond does not come out against Froome because GL is actually behaving responsibly and not casting aspersions?

      One would expect that LeMond would, however, denounce Froome for cheating – IF Greg had the evidence (even circumstantial) to support such a claim. As long as Froome and SKY continue obfuscating and restrict the upper realm of CF’s ET-like performance to the outer limit of what’s just still possible for a human, and as long as no one from w/in the team or Froome’s personal circle betrays him, if he is doping it will be difficult to prove in the absence of an analytical positive…

      I think Greg’s commentary has been appropriate for this reality.

      • OGS_SD

        What evidence did Greg Lemond when he was speaking out against Armstrong?

        • FearUncertaintyDoubt

          People who witnessed Lance’s doping program were coming to Lemond. And Michele Ferrari was a well-known doping doctor.

      • Mark

        Very intelligent, logical, and honest comment

        • Mellow Jessica

          thanks :)

    • Dave

      There’s another good reason he can’t say what he thinks in this case. Look up a list of which networks carry Eurosport in English-speaking countries.

    • Derek Maher

      Well I agree with you on Walsh,Never liked his muck raking style and self promotion.A good few people in Ireland would probably agree with me.

  • Jk047

    Test LeMonds B Sample… Oh .. There isn’t one.


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