Teams & Riders Froome Talk Only

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Nearly 1400 pages on this, so maybe this has been conclusively befoe.

In 2011 Chris Froome was outsider. He was earning 80k a year, not that much, few contacts in the sport. But then he apparently took something that catapulted him, according to the Clinic, from an autobus dweller into a contender overnight. Tour of Poland etc.

Now let's say it was all drugs, Froome has extended that form for at least 8 years. He is rich. There's been no actual doping problems

So the question is 'Why is he only one?'. Surely others would try their hand
I would say the general assumption here in the Clinic is that Sky was running a very sophisticated team doping program for all of those years (together with all the other marginal gains stuff, which probably helped marginally too). Probably connected with the official UK efforts for the London Olympics. This program hasn't really been revealed yet, and maybe never will.

Maybe not everything Sky was doing was technically illegal, but in some grey zone of legality. I personally don't think they were using blood bags or anything as crude as that. Why was Froome a part of that despite being an outsider (which he was) - why wouldn't he be if he's on the Vuelta team?

The second assumption is that not every athlete profits from doping equally. This is probably uncontroversial, various genetic factors makes people react differently to all sorts of drugs. Some people for instance are basically immune to morphine. Training level also matters; if you pump a fat male 18-year-old full of anabolic steroids and make him work out under professional guidance for half a year you'll see a more radical transformation than if you do it to an already fit 30-year-old. And if that 18-year-old actually has excellent genetics but just never did anything, then even more so.

It is possible that the factors Froome himself stated for his improved performance (recovery from illness, better coaching, more focused peaking, etc.) and the well known yellow-jersey syndrome (if a rider has a real goal in mind it's easier to give 100% than if you don't think you have a chance anyway) in connection with whatever sinister program Sky was running produced the result we know.

It can be both imo. He probably did try harder, he did train better, and maybe he also did some things along the way that weren't within the rules of the sport.
 
The argument is that talent shows early. If your talent shows early, you might dope, but maybe you do have talent nonetheless. If your talent doesn't show early, you don't have it.
This certainly holds true for riders from the US or Europe, who are racing on the circuit from a young age and have experienced coaches and training plans in place for them.

But Froome was racing with substandard equipment and coaching until he was in his 20s. The conditions weren't really there for him to come close to fulfiling his potential. Which is why Brailsford was always so keen to point out that he was a 'diamond in the rough'. It was the ideal explanation, because it is plausible.

Of course, it's not likely, but it is at least a possibility with Froome. There are circumstances where talent wouldn't show early.
 
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This certainly holds true for riders from the US or Europe, who are racing on the circuit from a young age and have experienced coaches and training plans in place for them.

But Froome was racing with substandard equipment and coaching until he was in his 20s. The conditions weren't really there for him to come close to fulfiling his potential. Which is why Brailsford was always so keen to point out that he was a 'diamond in the rough'. It was the ideal explanation, because it is plausible.

Of course, it's not likely, but it is at least a possibility with Froome. There are circumstances where talent wouldn't show early.
4 years in Europe not enough?...with an (alleged) physiological test (the fax) telling him that if he shed some weight he would be one of the fastest cyclists of all time....he just couldn't be ars*d to lose it....but managed it in three weeks in '11
 
This certainly holds true for riders from the US or Europe, who are racing on the circuit from a young age and have experienced coaches and training plans in place for them.

But Froome was racing with substandard equipment and coaching until he was in his 20s.
I‘m curious what evidence exists for this assertion. We already know the “sand shoes” story is a lie from photos of the event. I’m just wondering if you know this for sure. Young riders in the US are rarely equipped with top coaching, certainly not as a matter of course. The very best? Sure, but what is that, 10 guys? I’m skeptical Froome was at any meaningful disadvantage here.


The conditions weren't really there for him to come close to fulfiling his potential. Which is why Brailsford was always so keen to point out that he was a 'diamond in the rough'. It was the ideal explanation, because it is plausible.
Even in the 90s very detailed training plans were available from a number of sources. Amateur racers trained amazingly hard to very strict training plans. Joe Friel‘s book was a great basic primer. Sure he likely didn’t have access to pro level training but neither did almost anyone else. Brailsford was definitely keen to provide an explanation for how Froome went from pack fodder to GT dominator, but not having access to top level coaching as a reason is pretty laughable and has the benefit of playing upon European belief in their own superiority.

Of course, it's not likely, but it is at least a possibility with Froome. There are circumstances where talent wouldn't show early.
It’s interesting that no one brings up the bilharzia excuse anymore. I guess it was debunked so badly on this thread folks stay away. That’s a good thing.
 
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This certainly holds true for riders from the US or Europe, who are racing on the circuit from a young age and have experienced coaches and training plans in place for them.

But Froome was racing with substandard equipment and coaching until he was in his 20s. The conditions weren't really there for him to come close to fulfiling his potential. Which is why Brailsford was always so keen to point out that he was a 'diamond in the rough'. It was the ideal explanation, because it is plausible.

Of course, it's not likely, but it is at least a possibility with Froome. There are circumstances where talent wouldn't show early.
A lot of the time, though, these debates have been had ad nauseaum for several years, and if they haven't been debunked for a while, then points will be raised once more in an attempt to re-postulate the same hypothesis that was rejected before, in order to implant it in the memory of a new readership.

Froome didn't spend most of his formative years in cycling in Kenya (which is a genuine cycling backwater, though it is improving with its infrastructure improving, there are some riders on BikeAid and on an Australian continental team and there's a fairly reasonable looking amateur race called the Tour of Machako which is growing), though, he spent them in South Africa, which while some way removed from spending your formative racing years in Belgium or Italy, is far less of a backwater. And especially was less of one in the mid-late 2000s when they had a few pro races and a stronger cycling calendar than they in fact have today, in which the young Froome took part. There were as many pro races and almost as many pro teams in South Africa as there were in Britain for the young Geraint Thomas and his colleagues in the mid 2000s, in fact. When he signed for Barloworld they were, per CQ, the 21st ranked team in the world. One of the very best ProContinental setups in that respect, buoyed largely by the results of Robbie Hunter in sprints and Mauricio Soler's breakthrough Tour de France.

Now, did he get a later start than many? Yes. It's difficult to compare him to, say, Michael Woods or Primož Roglič because they were already sportsmen when they started cycling late. And he didn't start cycling late enough to be that directly comparable to, say, Tony Rominger, because Froome was a pro cyclist at 21. But even though he's European we could compare him to, say, Bauke Mollema, who didn't start cycling competitively until his late teens and was winning the Tour de l'Avenir two years later.

He must have had something, other than the willingness to commit identity theft, that meant people saw something in him, otherwise he wouldn't have got to the UCI World Cycling Centre. But there are several years between that and his eventual breakout that are being written off as though he was in some cycling backwater until he signed for Team Sky. In reality, Barloworld was a pretty good ProContinental team which in retrospect was not one of the most reputable teams out there, but at least wasn't one of the least either.

But Froome wasn't even the best young African climber on it.
 
A lot of the time, though, these debates have been had ad nauseaum for several years, and if they haven't been debunked for a while, then points will be raised once more in an attempt to re-postulate the same hypothesis that was rejected before, in order to implant it in the memory of a new readership.

Froome didn't spend most of his formative years in cycling in Kenya (which is a genuine cycling backwater, though it is improving with its infrastructure improving, there are some riders on BikeAid and on an Australian continental team and there's a fairly reasonable looking amateur race called the Tour of Machako which is growing), though, he spent them in South Africa, which while some way removed from spending your formative racing years in Belgium or Italy, is far less of a backwater. And especially was less of one in the mid-late 2000s when they had a few pro races and a stronger cycling calendar than they in fact have today, in which the young Froome took part. There were as many pro races and almost as many pro teams in South Africa as there were in Britain for the young Geraint Thomas and his colleagues in the mid 2000s, in fact. When he signed for Barloworld they were, per CQ, the 21st ranked team in the world. One of the very best ProContinental setups in that respect, buoyed largely by the results of Robbie Hunter in sprints and Mauricio Soler's breakthrough Tour de France.

Now, did he get a later start than many? Yes. It's difficult to compare him to, say, Michael Woods or Primož Roglič because they were already sportsmen when they started cycling late. And he didn't start cycling late enough to be that directly comparable to, say, Tony Rominger, because Froome was a pro cyclist at 21. But even though he's European we could compare him to, say, Bauke Mollema, who didn't start cycling competitively until his late teens and was winning the Tour de l'Avenir two years later.

He must have had something, other than the willingness to commit identity theft, that meant people saw something in him, otherwise he wouldn't have got to the UCI World Cycling Centre. But there are several years between that and his eventual breakout that are being written off as though he was in some cycling backwater until he signed for Team Sky. In reality, Barloworld was a pretty good ProContinental team which in retrospect was not one of the most reputable teams out there, but at least wasn't one of the least either.

But Froome wasn't even the best young African climber on it.
Yep, so basically talent doesn't always show early.
 
Yep, so basically talent doesn't always show early.
And there's a difference between showing talent, and showing "yea, this guy will be the one to win 7 GTs" talent. As I've said many times, the progression that he showed from 2007 to 2011 suggested somebody whose upside was somewhere around the Egoí Martínez/Chris Anker Sørensen kind of level.

Then one day he suddenly had unlimited upside.

Then he sucked for half a year again.

Then he had unlimited upside again and stayed that way all the way until his crash at the Dauphiné last year. The rider that he was may or may not still be in there somewhere, but given his age and the extent of his injuries, anything he does post-June 2019 doesn't prove anything either way.
 
Then he sucked for half a year again.
When was that? Beginning with the 2011 Vuelta, revised, he was a GT winner every year till his crash last year, except in 2012 and 2014, when he finished second. He had to defer to Wiggins in 2012--he certainly didn't suck in that Tour--and he crashed out of Tour in 2014, and had to settle for second in the Vuelta. No sucking there.
 
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When was that? Beginning with the 2011 Vuelta, revised, he was a GT winner every year till his crash last year, except in 2012 and 2014, when he finished second. He had to defer to Wiggins in 2012--he certainly didn't suck in that Tour--and he crashed out of Tour in 2014, and had to settle for second in the Vuelta. No sucking there.
If I recall correctly, he sucked between the 2011 Vuelta and the 2012 Tour. He was supposed to be co-leader but he sucked pretty bad and wound up domestique. I think?
 
If I recall correctly, he sucked between the 2011 Vuelta and the 2012 Tour. He was supposed to be co-leader but he sucked pretty bad and wound up domestique. I think?
He was dealing with health issues during that period, a period in which many GT contenders, including Froome himself in later years, don't do particularly well in races. When he finally returned to racing, in May, at Romandie, he rode reasonably well. I don't know if he was ever considered to be co-leader of the TDF, but given he hadn't had the chance to show much results, and the Vuelta was still the only evidence that he should be a leader, there was nothing unreasonable about making him a domestique.

I wouldn't say he sucked, I would say he just hadn't had the chance to develop his form. Also worth noting that post-Vuelta, he was on the WC team, and also podiumed in a race in Beijing. It's not as though he ever reverted to his pre-Vuelta form.
 
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No. He did not ride reasonably well in Romandie.
As the stage began, eighth man down the ramp Froome attacked the 16.24-kilometre course to lay down a benchmark time of 30:41 on what has been an impressive return from illness in Switzerland.

He also rode Algarve and Critérium International and did nothing.
Both of those were held in the early season, when Froome was still battling illness, or at least alleged to be doing so.
 
In the early 2012 season Froome and Cobo were treated as basically the same thing: the hilarious sputniks from the previous Vuelta (the GT of comical over-the-top out-of-the-blue performances) that could not replicate that form ever again. Froome's performance at Romandie was bad. I mean, Sky could say whatever they wanted on their website, but Froome came 39th in that ITT, and 123rd in the final GC.
 
Froome should probably be out in public begging everyone with a fever to cough in his face. If Badzilla transoformed him from a talentless plodder into a GT winner then covid-19 could transform him into the greatest cyclist of all time.
Froome will ask to train with Fuglsang in his homeland to get the full benefit of this mink Covid mutation.
 
Okay! So you are going with the whole ... he was lazy, did not know how to train, and in the course of weeks changed his approach from pack fodder with moderate talent to world beating GT dominator.

After all this time, and all the evidence that the speed of transformation does not align with the story you are telling, it sounds just like an entrenched belief. Almost ideological
The baffling / strange thing about the transformation was that it occurred at a race he wasnt meant to be in. In fact wasnt his season pretty much over before that late change? There’s no way EPO (or whatever) would work in the space of a few days, surely?
 
No doping problems. Except for several incidents including a positive test.
Technically it’s not a positive is it? It’s an AAF.

Regardless, what are the ‘several incidents’ you refer to? I’ve been following this thread for years and I dont remember several incidents for Froome, strange things for Sky - yes, but Froome I don’t remember.
 
Technically it’s not a positive is it? It’s an AAF.

Regardless, what are the ‘several incidents’ you refer to? I’ve been following this thread for years and I dont remember several incidents for Froome, strange things for Sky - yes, but Froome I don’t remember.
Yeah well technically the UCI stuffed his positive test and wiped their hands of it with no rational explanation. Not sure what calling it an AAF does for ya, but fact is he was caught dead to rights with double the legal limit of Salbutamol in his veins.

As for the rest, there are many and it’s all in the thread. Not going to rekindle all of that in detail.

Suffice it to say the team and Froome are both awash in doping scandals, and that’s just the stuff we know about.
 
Yeah well technically the UCI stuffed his positive test and wiped their hands of it with no rational explanation. Not sure what calling it an AAF does for ya, but fact is he was caught dead to rights with double the legal limit of Salbutamol in his veins.
Worth remembering that Salbutamol does not require a TUE for its use in or out of competition. It is not EPO ;) It is hardly anything.

As for the rest, there are many and it’s all in the thread. Not going to rekindle all of that in detail.

Suffice it to say the team and Froome are both awash in doping scandals, and that’s just the stuff we know about.
To be fair, that last clause in your final sentence casts a shadow over your point. What "we dont know about" resides purely in our imagination. It doesnt add weight to an argument, it delegitimises it.

Im scratching my head to recall doping scandals involving Froome. There is the Salbutamol, and if that is a scandal it revolves around the UCI response rather than Froome. I dont see Salbutamol as being of any significance at all with regards to performance. The significance is the gulf between the treatment of Froome, and that of Ulissi, and the damage the case did to anti-doping.

The only other incident I can recall is the 2014 Romandie prednisolone TUE, and again what I find most discomfitting is the behaviour of the UCI.

Froome is annoying precisely because there is so little evidence to explain such an utterly bizarre career trajectory. Prednisolone in 2014 doesnt explain 2011, 2012, 2013...etc, Just as numerous riders' use of prednisolone in the 80's, 90's, 2000's doesnt explain Froome's stratospheric rise.
 
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Worth remembering that Salbutamol does not require a TUE for its use in or out of competition.
Not now. It did, earlier, when Froome was racing, and there still is no evidence that he had a TUE for it.

Froome is annoying precisely because there is so little evidence to explain such an utterly bizarre career trajectory.
Bingo.

But I think weight loss is a big piece of the puzzle. Froome himself, in several interviews, has emphasized the importance of this. If we can believe the numbers--and other than the dubious FAX, we have little to go on but his word--his weight loss over a period of several years would have resulted in a very big increase in W/kg--IF he was able to maintain power, which is another big question mark.

Froome's size would predispose him to more of a rouleur/TT type than a climber, and his most promising, early, pre-2011 results were in TTs. He still didn't show any promise of being elite in that discipline, but clearly, if he wanted to contend in GCs, he had to climb better, and that meant weight loss. Salbutamol, taken orally, could definitely help with that. It's not donkey-to-racehorse drug, he'd still have to have the power, the engine, but a few % loss of body weight means a lot of time gained on long, steep climbs.

I'd have to dig out the interview, but I think Froome claimed that he lost a lot of weight just prior to the 2011 Vuelta. That raises other questions, of course, such as why he didn't lose that weight sooner, or if he couldn't, how could he suddenly do it then.
 
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