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French cycling coach wants power passport for riders
July 14, 2015 / 2:24 PM / 2 years ago

French cycling coach wants power passport for riders

Race bicycles are seen on a team car before the start of the 167-km (103.7 miles) 10th stage of the 102nd Tour de France cycling race from Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint -Martin, France, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

LA PIERRE ST MARTIN, France (Reuters) - After launching the biological passport to fight against doping, cycling should create a power profile for every rider, French coach Frederic Grappe said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Reuters before the start of the 10th stage of the Tour de France, Grappe, the FDJ team performance director, explained that the riders’ power data should be stored, protected and analysed by experts in order to detect suspicious variations.

Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford said on Monday he believed Chris Froome’s performance data has been hacked by critics who accuse him of doping.

Power data estimates have been widely used by experts -- Froome calls them “clowns”, Brailsford says it is “pseudo-science” -- to show a rider is cheating.

One of them, Antoine Vayer, a former coach at the infamous Festina team, believes that beyond a certain barrier doping is inevitable.

Teams use power data metres to assess their riders’ performance.

“The power data we have, it’s confidential, because they belong to the riders, they belong to the teams,” Grappe said.

”What is the point in publishing the power data because who is able to analyse it correctly? Very few people because there are so many factors to take into account -- the weather, the length of the effort...

“Some, and I won’t name them, are all wrong with it.”

Grappe’s idea is to have the data looked into by those who have the expertise -- just like the riders’ blood data has been analysed by experts to detect doping with the biological passport since 2008.

“I want the riders’ power data to be stored in a server -- we’ve been discussing it with the ISSUL (Institute of Sports Science of the University of Lausanne). I‘m ready to do it,” said Grappe.

”A special commission with experts would analyse the data -- I‘m for establishing a power profile for every rider in the peloton, it does not cost anything, it does not cost anything.

“If your power metre is well calibrated you have landmarks -- the guy who has a well-established profile and beats his record by 10 per cent... you know something is wrong.”

Power estimates were hotly debated at the 2013 Tour de France, when Froome’s brutal acceleration in the ascent to the Mont Ventoux caused controversy on the race.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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