Chris Froome says he is in a dream situation at the Tour de France despite the furore surrounding his performances which prompted Team Sky to release performance data.
The 30-year-old has an advantage of three minutes 10 seconds over Nairo Quintana (Movistar) ahead of today’s first of four stages in the Alps, to Pra Loup.
The 2013 champion has been subjected to innuendo and interrogations over his dominant win in the first Pyrenees stage to La Pierre-Saint-Martin on Stage 10, with host broadcaster France 2 among those to seek expert analysis, but he insists he races clean.
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The clamour for Froome’s actual figures led to Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford inviting head of performance Tim Kerrison to reveal the real numbers behind the display on the race’s second rest day.
“It really has been more of a sideshow than anything else,” Froome said.
“My focus has been on the race. This is the dream position, to be four racing stages away from the Champs-Elysees (on Sunday) with a decent advantage over most of my rivals. Nothing is going to detract from that.”
Froome is uncertain if the data release will convince everyone of the legitimacy of his performances.
“I’m not sure if numbers are going to fix everything, but certai-nly I feel as a team and myself, we’re definitely trying to be as open and transparent as possible,” he added.
Brailsford insisted performance data would not be released every time Froome beat the field and expects the attention not to detract from the Kenya-born Briton’s desire to win this week.
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Brailsford added: “We’re here to race and racing is a human endeavour. It’s not a set of numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s not a power meter.
“I’m sure if Chris feels that he can attack and he could go and leave everybody behind, it would be a travesty, I think, if he had any doubt in his mind thinking ‘oh, I better not’. And I know he won’t. That’s what we should do: continue to race in a clean and pure fashion.”
Team Sky understand why questions are asked due to cycling’s drug-riddled past. Froome won the 100th Tour and first since Lance Armstrong was exposed as a drug cheat and stripped of his record seven titles.
Brailsford was shocked when he appeared on France 2 on Sunday and was shown a video of Pierre Sallet, a doctor of physiology, calculating Froome’s power in watts per kilo on La Pierre-Saint-Martin.
Sallet made a calculation of 7.04 watts per kilo, which he claimed is “abnormally high” and Team Sky contest was “wildly wrong”.
That prompted Brailsford’s decision to disclose the actual figures, with Kerrison revealing a reading of 5.78 watts per kilogram.
“If you are going to present something on TV, to a nation, then you do have an obligation to get your facts right,” Brailsford added.
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