Chris Froome un­der fire over ‘cheat­ing’ jersey

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Chris Froome and his Sky team were un­der at­tack again on the open­ing week­end of the Tour de France, but not on the road.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously been ac­cused of dop­ing and us­ing a mo­torised bi­cy­cle by de­trac­tors un­will­ing to be­lieve his dom­i­nant per­for­mances could have been achieved through fair means, Froome is now un­der fire for al­legedly us­ing banned sub­stances in his jersey.

Ac­cord­ing to a French pro­fes­sor spe­cial­is­ing in sports per­for­mance, and working for ri­val team FDJ, Froome and his Sky col­leagues gained 18 to 25 sec­onds in Satur­day’s time-trial through their choice of jersey. The top in ques­tion has lit­tle Vor­tex air pel­lets wo­ven into the fab­ric to give an aero­dy­namic boost to the rider, which Fred­eric Grappe claims of­fers a five per­cent boost in per­for­mance but is il­le­gal. “The rule is very clear. Any aero­dy­namic ad­di­tion to the jersey is banned. Sky have clearly in­fringed,” Grappe told jour­nal­ists. How­ever, Sky’s sports di­rec­tor Ni­co­las Por­tal in­sisted his team had done noth­ing wrong. “Ev­ery­thing is le­gal and the equip­ment was val­i­dated by the race com­mis­sion,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have taken the risk of los­ing the Tour from the first stage by cheat­ing. We haven’t cheated. “Other teams use this ma­te­rial but we’re the ones be­ing at­tacked.

“We’re not in­fring­ing the rules be­cause the Vor­tex isn’t added to the jersey, it’s part of it­that’s dif­fer­ent.” Sky had four rid­ers fin­ish in the top eight of Satur­day’s time-trial, in­clud­ing Froome, who was sixth, and Geraint Thomas, the sur­prise stage winner.

Sky are no strangers to con­tro­versy sur­round­ing their in­no­va­tions. Two years ago they faced scru­tiny for bring­ing a camper van to the Giro d’Italia for their then rider Richie Porte to get a bet­ter night’s sleep.

How­ever, or­gan­is­ers put a stop to that im­me­di­ately. They were also the first to sys­tem­at­i­cally use sta­tion­ary bikes to help their rid­ers warm up for races and warm down af­ter­wards, some­thing which is now done by all teams. — AFP

DUSSELDORF: Bri­tain’s Chris Froome, his pants torn af­ter crash­ing, right, fol­lows team­mates to catch up with the pack dur­ing the sec­ond stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 203.5 kilo­me­ters (126.5 miles) with start in Dusseldorf, Germany, and fin­ish in Liege, Bel­gium, yesterday. — AP

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