Brailsford calls for standardised release of performance data

Sir Dave Brailsford believes all the top teams should release standardised performance data

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford wants cycling's top teams to release standardised performance data in the wake of Chris Froome's physiological tests undertaken last year.

Two-time Tour de France winner Froome voluntarily took part in laboratory tests in an attempt to demonstrate his physical abilities after he endured constant speculation and accusations as to whether he was doping while riding to his second Tour victory last summer.

But though Froome and Sky are happy with the outcome of that process, Brailsford believes everyone must play by the same rules for it to have a real impact.

"It should be standardised," he said. "What I want is to take away the element of, 'Well, Team Sky are willing to do this or they're not willing to do this'. If we all agreed as teams, 'Here is the disclosure model that we're all going to buy into', that takes away the discretionary decision."

Brailsford has written to Brian Cookson, president of world governing body the UCI, as well as the Velon group of teams - an organisation formed of 11 leading teams, including Sky, that is pushing for modernisation in the sport - about the matter.

"Brian has written back to say he thinks it's definitely worth discussing, but it's not easy to do," Brailsford added. "I'd like to think we could get to a position where we recognise this is not something that's going to go away but as a sport we could address it rather than leaving it to one rider and one team."

Sky have long endured sniping from those sceptical of their methods, starting with Sir Bradley Wiggins' Tour win in 2012 and continuing in both 2013 and 2015 as Froome took the yellow jersey. The Kenyan-born rider was doused in urine by one roadside fan last summer after allegations were aired on French television.

While protective of information they believe can help their rivals, Sky released some data via French newspaper L'Equipe during the 2013 Tour, while Froome headed to the GlaxoSmithKline Human Performance laboratory in London in August to measure his power output and vo2 Max (a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use).

Other riders, including Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin, have also voluntarily released data but, given their successes, Sky have felt far more pressure than their rivals.

"We get asked more than any other team about data," Brailsford said. "Our riders, particularly Chris, get asked about releasing data. We feel the onus is on us and whatever decision we make, we're judged on the decision and how people interpret it in terms of our willingness to be open and what that tells people about us."

Froome, who came up with the idea of the physiological tests himself and conducted them independently of the team, would be happy to see such releases take place on a wider scale as he believes the current situation only invites scepticism.

"It almost becomes like, 'What data are you going to release?' and it just detracts from the sporting aspect," Froome said. "If it was more like Formula One for example, where you know the data is being released by all the teams across the sport, that's definitely something I would support."

The numbers Froome released last month showed a correlation between his abilities now and results of testing conducted at the Swiss Olympic Medical Centre in Lausanne in 2007 when he was an unpolished 22-year-old - something he hopes will placate his critics as it suggests his rapid progression in terms of results since 2011 is based on harnessing his raw ability rather than unnaturally increasing it.

"I was grateful to the UCI for looking back into their records and finding the results from 2007," he said. "That was very helpful and something I was happy to share with everyone. The results certainly correlated in a way that people could see they could tell a story."

It remains to be seen whether, if Froome finds himself in yellow again this summer, he will face the same questions, speculation and even abuse, but he is clear in his belief that cycling is moving forward in the fight against doping.

"I don't take any of it personally," he said of the accusations. "I don't see it as an attack on Chris Froome. I see it as an attack on the current state of the sport, which I think is in a brilliant place now. I'd love people to see more and more of that."

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