Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford wants cycling’s world governing body to intervene in an effort to prove Tour de France leader Chris Froome is competing as a clean athlete.
Froome has been subjected to innuendo and interrogations over his performances since his dominant display on stage 10 to La Pierre-Saint-Martin last Tuesday.
Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, leaves the podium of the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race on Sunday, July 19, 2015.
Brailsford was a guest on France 2’s post-race coverage when the Tour’s host broadcaster showed an expert poring over footage of Froome’s win in the first stage in the Pyrenees.
Pierre Sallet, a doctor of physiology, calculated the 2013 Tour champion’s power in watts per kilogram of 7.04, which he claimed is an “abnormally high profile”.
Brailsford attacked the “mathematical model” as “only an estimation” and says it is not possible to prove his riders are drug free.
Brailsford understands the levels of scepticism due to cycling’s long history of drug-driven performances and called for the UCI to act by embedding anti-doping officials into Tour teams to ensure there is no improper behaviour.
“It is not possible to prove a negative. I can’t. But I can work with the UCI, independent experts,” said Brailsford on France 2.
“I understand people asking ’do we believe in Chris Froome?’.
“How can we find a test where we say ’we are clean’? We have responsibility to be transparent.
“I would like the UCI to invest in individuals and put them into each team 24/7. That would prove we do nothing. I’m ready to do it.”
Team Sky, Brailsford and Froome insist they ride clean and the former British Cycling performance director called for a ’power passport’ in addition to the biological passport, which tracks an athlete’s blood profile to look for irregularities.
Brailsford added: “It is not fair what has been said. Chris is special. He has a special physiology. But he doesn’t cheat.”
Froome (Team Sky) maintained his lead of three minutes 10 seconds over nearest challenger Nairo Quintana (Movistar) after Sunday’s 15th stage from Mende to Valence, won by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
The 30-year-old had urine thrown over him and was called a ’doper’ on Saturday’s 14th stage and felt “irresponsible” reporters and television pundits were culpable for the hostile reception from roadside spectators, which has also seen Team Sky riders booed and spat at.
Froome was asked again about the incident on Sunday as the peloton traversed southern France towards the Alps, where four stages will take place after Tuesday’s rest day.
“Times have changed. Everyone knows that,” said Froome, referring to riders from the drug-riddled era who are now prominent on television screens.
“This isn’t the Wild West that it was 10, 15 years ago. There is no reason in this day and age for that level or suspicion to continue.
“I don’t see what else I can do, other than speak up about it and plead with people to make up their own minds about our performances and not listen to, particularly, ex-riders who are part of this generation and only knew one way of cycling.”