Tour de France: Chris Froome open to extra testing as Rafal Majka wins stage
Chris Froome said he was open to undergoing independent physiological analysis to prove he`s riding clean as Rafal Majka won stage 11 of the Tour de France on Wednesday.
Froome decimated his rivals on Tuesday`s tough stage 10 finish at La Pierre-Saint Martin and both his remarkable acceleration when attacking just over 6km from the end, and the amount of time he put into some of his main rivals, provoked new suspicions about doping.
It came at a time when data, apparently stolen when his Sky team`s computers were hacked, was published on the internet.
A video of Froome climbing to victory on Mont Ventoux when he won the Tour in 2013 apparently shows his heart-rate stabilising at 160 beats per minute as he accelerated -- similarly to Tuesday -- away to victory.
But the 30-year-old Briton says that`s normal.
"I`ve put that data out there myself in my book. I said my maximum heart-rate is only 170," said the Kenyan-born rider.
"After two weeks of the Tour on Ventoux it`s quite surprising it`s 160, it`s normally a bit lower than that.
"That`s normal, two weeks into a Grand Tour, 10 beats off my maximum when I`m going as hard as I can -- for me anyway."
Having suffered from incessant doping speculation following his Tour victory in 2013 and again this year, Froome said he would consider undergoing extra testing to try to silence the critics once and for all.
"Obviously, right here at the moment, my focus is on the race, but certainly I`m open-minded to potentially doing some physiological testing at some point after the Tour," he said.
"There would be some interesting things to come out of it, as a team we might even learn something from it, but at the moment I`m focused on the race.
"I`ve certainly not planned to just start releasing data into the public. I can see the effects of the supposedly leaked file, it doesn`t do any good, it doesn`t prove one thing or another, that`s pointless.
"But if I can find an independent expert to analyse, or an expert from a physiological point of view, I`m open to doing that with someone."Froome`s Sky manager Dave Brailsford suggested the answer would be to follow the model of a biological passport and have a power passport as well.
But he said amateurs analysing power data was useless.
"We must leave that to the experts, we`ve given all our data to UK anti-doping but as we do with blood -- the biological passport -- why not have a power passport and give it all to the experts and then everything`s clear," he said.
Brailsford, though, suggested the anomaly for Tuesday`s performance was not Froome`s dominance but his main rivals` failures -- pointing to the fact that a modest climber such as Tony Gallopin finished ninth, ahead of the likes of Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali.
"Yesterday, the surprise was the performance of the others, which wasn`t to the level we expected," he said.
"It`s true Chris had a good day but the others weren`t really on top form. The big performance yesterday was Gallopin coming seventh (actually ninth).
"He had a great performance, or young Adam Yates did great (finishing seventh). We didn`t see a great Contador or Nibali but (Nairo) Quintana was ok, if not brilliant."
As for the 11th stage itself, it was a third victory for Majka in just two years riding the Tour after a 188km trek from Pau to Cauterets in blazing heat that reached 36 degrees Celsius.
The 25-year-old Pole was part of an eight-man breakaway but attacked his companions on the monstrous Col du Tourmalet, which rises to more than 2km above sea level, with around 50km remaining.
He pulled almost two minutes clear of his chasers and then held on to win by one minute from Ireland`s Dan Martin, with German champion Emmanuel Buchmann in third at 1min 23sec.
Froome finished ninth just over 5min back as part of a 10-man group containing most of the rest of the top 10.
But it was another disappointing day for reigning champion Nibali who, despite looking strong on the Tourmalet, cracked on the much easier third category Cote de Cauterets climb just before the finish and lost almost a minute to Froome`s group, dropping out of the top 10 overall.
American Tejay Van Garderen remains second at 2min 52sec with Quintana third at 3min 09.