Tour leader Froome keeps focus on race despite data row

Tour de France leader Chris Froome believes there are no beneficiaries from publishing performance data as it proves little – yet he is willing to undergo physiological testing to analyse what it is that makes him an exceptional athlete.

Britain's Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, rides in the pack during the eleventh stage of the Tour de France.
Britain's Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, rides in the pack during the eleventh stage of the Tour de France.

Froome, who maintained his near three-minute advantage as Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) won stage 11 to Cauterets, continues to fight off innuendo from an audience sceptical after years of performance-enhancing drugs use in the peloton.

The 30-year-old Team Sky leader has always denied doping and spoken of his wish to be a spokesman for clean cycling.

The 2013 champion is frustrated with some critics using leaked power data to allege he is cheating, insisting it is misleading and does not account for all variables.

“If we find an independent expert in the field who can analyse the data from a physiological point of view, then, yes, sure, I might be open minded to doing that,” Froome said.

“There would be some interesting things that come out of it and maybe as a team we might even learn something from it. But at the moment I’m focused on the race.

“I’ve certainly got no plans of just releasing data out into the public. You can see the effects of the supposed leaked file that went out there.

“That’s done no-one any good. It doesn’t prove one thing or another thing. That’s pointless.”

Froome says he pays no attention to his ‘numbers’ while at a race, leaving the data to Team Sky’s performance staff.

He added: “I’m focused on my race, I’m focused on my rivals, my team-mates, actually how things are out on the road.

“Those numbers and everything – it’s not something I obsess about during the race.”

The scrutiny Froome is under is in no small part a legacy of Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour titles for doping, finally confessing in February 2013 after years of denials.

Armstrong returns to Tour roads today as part of Le Tour-One Day Ahead alongside Geoff Thomas, the former England footballer who is hoping to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia by riding the 3,360-kilometres route one day ahead of the professional peloton.

Froome supports the cause after his mother died of a blood cancer-related illness, but cares little of Armstrong’s involvement.

He said: “I wish Geoff Thomas and the guys all the best in raising as much money as they can.

“But about Lance he’s not on the line with us, we’re not going to see him, it’s a non-event for us.”

Majka soloed to victory on yesterday’s second Pyrenees stage.