The rest day brings a welcome respite from my blogging activity.
Anyway – the second day in the Pyrenees provided the most exciting bit of racing and certainly got the most spectacular press activity of the tour so far…….The super team cracked…… Froome Isolated!……. It’s the end of team sky’s domination…….. The headlines went on and on.
Lets look at what really happened. The other teams decided to put pressure on the yellow jersey and it bloody worked. Simple. It proves that even the most rigorous team plans get wrecked. It’s not the first time – lets not forget the terrible tactics at the Olympic road race ( which was principally team sky in British colours). I also think that it’s a pretty good indicator (and I say indicator) that the team are riding clean. Froome is a different story which I will come on to. However, the rest of the guys suffered. Why? Because they had ridden their bollox off the day before setting up the win.
The era of team domination is now proven to be doping fuelled. Lets remember the US postal team in its hey day. The nativity of us all to think that so many men could pull all day, day in day out and then launch Lance to another crushing victory. Festina in 98? The list goes on. Dare i say it was great to watch – domination does create a marvellous spectacle, but on balance I’d rather see a struggle to triumph. I wish I had been alive to see the huge time ebbs and flows of the early tours.
I digress. My thought is that Sky struggled because they were tired and not enhanced. I’m happy with that thought, but it does lead me to wonder about Froome. He had the biggest effort, yet covered every move. Certainly this had lead to questions being raised on his performance. One article said his notional power output was “inhuman”. A good source of theory on his proposed power effort is here Sports Scientists
What does this mean? Not for me to speculate, as my hope is that Froome is clean. My gut instinct is that he is, but time will tell. It’s interesting that Sky are currently not willing to release the actual power figures, citing that it gives away their advantage. I’m not sure I agree with this. Giving retrospective power figures for a climb is not an advantage. Yes other teams can ascertain what Froome can deliver, but it’s not formula 1. You can’t then “tweak” your own riders to match it, unless of course it’s through doping. If they could ride with the same power to weight ratio, then they wouldn’t have been dropped.
It’s certainly set up an intriguing next venture into the mountains. Those that presumed it was all over bar the victory lap have got it wrong. Sky cannot dominate, so Froome remains vulnerable to big team attacks. That’s good for the race.