Double Tour de France winner Chris Froome has backed Mo Farah’s decision to release his personal data and believes athletics must invest more in anti-doping measures as the latest scandal in the sport threatens to mirror cycling’s troubled past.
Farah was one of eight British athletes who made their blood values public in a bid to end suspicion of wrongdoing as the sport faces a growing crisis in the wake of recent revelations.
Although Farah has not been accused of wrongdoing, his coach Alberto Salazar is the subject of allegations made by the BBC’s Panorama program, while an investigation led by German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times has claimed world governing body the IAAF has failed to follow up suspicious blood value data for years.
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Froome faced constant allegations and innuendo on his way to his second Tour de France victory last month, partially quietened when Team Sky released some of his power data midway through the race, and he understands the position Farah and others now find themselves in.
“I think for similar reasons during the Tour de France we released some of my power data,” he said on BBC Radio Four. “It’s a step towards being more transparent, to show we don’t have anything to hide.”
However, Froome said that while the decision might be right for some, it would be wrong to suspect others purely for their reluctance to release their own numbers given the personal nature of the information.
“There’s definitely that downside,” he said. “I’ve released all my personal medical information and I’m doing it to show people there’s nothing to hide, but I wouldn’t want athletes who are not doing that to have a shadow cast on them.”
Cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has hugely expanded its anti-doping efforts in a bid to move on from the era associated with Lance Armstrong and other riders who doped extensively.
Froome said the UCI now spends four times as much as the IAAF on its testing program, and said that needed to change.
“(The IAAF) is going to have to invest a lot more heavily in anti-doping,” he said. “That would be a step in the right direction.”
During the Tour, Froome also said he was open to doing further physiological testing to demonstrate his powers as an athlete, including a VO2 Max test which shows the body’s maximal consumption of oxygen and the efficiency of muscles.
Froome, who plans to ride in the Vuelta a Espana which begins on August 22, said he remains open to the idea but will said it will happen “when the time is right”.
“It is something I wanted to do at the beginning of the season, before all this came up at the Tour de France,” he said. “A lot of people are asking about the VO2 Max test and we have got plans in place to get some testing done. But we’re not going to rush into it. We’ll do it when the time is right.”