Team airs Froome’s figures as Tour de France nears finale
SISTERON, France — The team of Tour de France leader Chris Froome bowed to pressure Tuesday and released data about his riding power, heart rate and pedaling rhythm, hoping to quell speculation about doping ahead of an increasingly likely victory in Paris.
On the Tour’s second rest day, Team Sky presented the figures after comments on French TV raised questions about Froome’s performance and incidents in which spectators have booed, spat upon and thrown urine on the rider and his teammates — behavior attributed in part to the unfounded speculation about his speed on the way to victory in Stage 10.
With a 3 minute, 10 second lead on his closest rival, and his mountain-climbing nearly unparalleled, Froome said he’s in “a great place” as the three-week race resumes today with Stage 17’s 161-kilometer (100-mile) jaunt over four climbs from Digne-les-Bains to an uphill finish at Pra Loup mountain resort.
It’s the start of four grueling days in the Alps. The climax comes Saturday with an uphill finish at Alpe d’Huez, a day before a largely ceremonial ride for the race winner on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
“The third week of the Tour is always unpredictable. You never know how anyone is going to respond,” said American rider Tejay van Garderen, the BMC team leader who is third overall, 3:32 behind of Froome.
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Dealing with ‘THE AFTERMATH’
Van Garderen said the British race leader, who won the Tour in 2013 and has never tested positive for doping, has had to deal with “the aftermath” of doping cheats of the past.
“It was clear that he dealt with the heat and dealt with the (first) rest day better than other people did,” Van Garderen said of Froome’s Stage 10 victory. “I think it’s very unfair for him to have to deal with all the scrutiny.”
Froome, a Kenya-born Briton, said his team wants to address doubts about Sky’s performances with the release of his rider data.
“I’m not sure if numbers are going to fix everything, but certainly I feel as a team and myself, we’re definitely trying to be as open and transparent as possible,” he said.