'I'm clean': Chris Froome releases Tour de France data in bid to silence critics

© Benoit Tessier
Chris Froome has released physiological data as he bids to silence the doubters about his two Tour de France victories. Esquire has published three sets of data online, with a full story in the next edition of the magazine Monday.

The first set is from 2007, the second from this year's Tour and the third from independent tests in August.

Froome said: "Hopefully, it's going to satisfy some of the questions asked. I know what I've done to get here. I'm the only one who can really know 100 percent that I'm clean.

"I haven't broken the rules. I haven't cheated. I haven't taken any secret substance that isn't known of yet.

"I know my results will stand the test of time, that 10, 15 years down the line people won't say, 'Ah, so that was his secret'. There isn't a secret."

The 2007 data was collected by the International Cycling Union at the World Cycling Centre - a programme for talented athletes from developing cycling nations.

The UCI blood data doesn't meet today's standards, as it predates the introduction of the biological passport in 2009.

Two key tests at that point - his VO2 Max and threshold power - indicate the type of rider who could win one of cycling's biggest races, provided he lost weight to improve his climbing ability.

That is also the result of the tests Froome conducted at the GSK High Performance Lab in London in August.

© Benoit Tessier

On that occasion his VO2 Max, which is the peak amount of oxygen an athlete can use, was 84.6 (ml/kg/min) - a number that supports the power data Team Sky released in July.

By releasing the data the team hoped to address the negativity surrounding Froome's performance during the 10th stage of this year's race.

GSK HLP's senior scientist Dr Phillip Bell described Froome's VO2 Max values as being "close to what we believe are the upper limits for humans."

In addition to his independent testing results, Froome has also given Esquire biological passport blood tests from July 13, the day before that 10th stage win, and August 20.

The first sample shows Froome's haemoglobin level was 15.3 grams per litre, with 0.72 percent of his red blood cells being immature cells known as reticulocytes.

This produces an OFF-score, an equation used in anti-doping to indicate possible blood manipulation, of 102.1.

The second sample show haemoglobin of 15.3, with a reticulocyte count of 0.96%, and an OFF-score of 94.21.

There is nothing sinister about these scores but, as British athletics star Paula Radcliffe has recently discovered, they only provide a snapshot of what is happening at a particular moment and definitive proof that somebody is clean requires more data, recorded over time.

Froome's critics point to the lack of success he had before 2011 - something he says was due to illness and inexperience.

His former teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins said Froome faced an almost impossible task trying to convince everyone he is clean.

"I don't think releasing his data is going to change perceptions or what people think, but at the same time that's what people have called for and he's done it," Wiggins said.

"Hats off to him for doing it and I'm sure it's not going to be something that he and Team Sky are going to live and die by.

"I don't think it's going to change anything but it's a small step maybe."

Froome told Esquire the accusations of doping did bother him - "it's hard not to get angry" - but said they didn't stop him enjoying becoming the first British rider to win a second Tour title.

"Nothing is going to taint that for me," he said. "All that stuff, it was an added challenge and did make it harder, but in a way it feels like an even greater achievement."

He admitted he understands why people remain sceptical given the history of doping in the sport.

The results of his testing at GSK HPL are expected to be published in an unspecified scientific journal at a later date.

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