SISTERON, France (AP) — The team of Tour de France leader Chris Froome has released new information about his riding power, pedaling rhythm and maximum heart rate, hoping to dispel what his coach calls "wildly wrong" figures floated on French television.
The release comes in the wake of comments on French TV raising questions about Froome's performance and incidents in which spectators have booed, spat upon and thrown urine on the rider and his Sky teammates which he and the team have attributed in part to the "unfair" speculation in the media about doping.
The 30-year-old Briton, who won the 2013 Tour, has never tested positive for doping and has repeatedly said he's riding clean.
"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," said Froome.
Sky team performance analyst Tim Kerrison presented figures including Froome's power output, cadence and heart rate on the tough final climb of Stage 10, which he won, in the Pyrenees last week. The figures showed his ability to generate vast amounts of power in the climb up to La Pierre Saint-Martin, hitting a top speed of 27.7 kilometers per hour going uphill.
Kerrison said he calculated that Froome had produced 414 watts and a pedal cadence of 97 revolutions per minute on average on the climb, which he said lasted 41 1/2 minutes by his count. Froome's heart rate hit 174 beats per minute the highest such rate that the team has tallied from him in any recent Grand Tour race and called it a sign that he had arrived "very fresh" at the bottom of that ascent.
Last week, France-2 ran a report quoting a doctor, Pierre Sallet, who it said works with statisticians for race organizer ASO, analyzing Tour riders' performances. ASO says that is only partly true: It says Sallet's team does give them data about the race itself, providing such details as where riders are on the road in relation to each other. But ASO says Sallet doesn't analyze rider's physiological data.
In the report, Sallet cited what he called "a reliable mathematical model" for his calculation of how much power Froome produced in winning that stage in the Pyrenees. Sallet said Froome scaled the 15.3-kilometer climb to La Pierre-Saint-Martin in 40 minutes and 43 seconds, and calculated that Froome had produced 425 watts of power on average on it.
Sallet calculated Froome's maximum aerobic power as 500 watts. Estimating that Froome weighs about 71 kilograms which the rider says is several kilograms too high Sallet calculated that Froome can generate 7.04 watts per kilogram. By his count, Kerrison said Froome had produced 5.89 watts per kilogram on average on the climb.
"All athletes we've seen above 7 watts per kilo in the past were athletes who were caught in doping affairs," said Sallet in the report, adding that Froome "must give us information about his physiological profile for his performance to become credible."
The report interspersed images of some former riders like Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour titles for doping.
Explaining Sky's decision to release the figures, team manager Dave Brailsford alleged guilt by association and faulty figures in the report.
"I just think that ... in particular what France 2 did, you know, putting out that big headline '7 watts per kilo', a picture of Lance Armstrong, a picture of (Jan) Ullrich, that was so wildly wrong on so many levels, that actually we just thought, 'We should just correct that, and give the concrete facts, and give the evidence, so hopefully that people can judge for themselves'."
Brailsford added that he hoped Sky's release of figures would "put to bed ... some of the numbers that they came up with."
AP Sports Writer John Leicester contributed from Les Blayes, France.