Contador's Tour displays defy science, claims expert
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Contador's Tour displays defy science, claims expert

by Agence France-Presse at 2:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Opinion
A leading sports scientist has challenged reigning Tour de France and Giro d'Italia champion Alberto Contador over his recent race-winning performances.

Biomechanics expert Frederic Grappe believes there is no comparison between Contador's display at last year's Tour and his victory in the Giro d'Italia.

"I have big doubts over his Tour win in 2007, although his performances in the 2008 Giro are far more believable," Grappe said in an interview with L'Equipe magazine Saturday.

"I've got nothing against Contador. He's a big champion. But I'd love for him to show us that he is credible as a rider by showing us his biological parameters for the past years," said Grappe, who has worked with a number of top athletes and is currently the coach of the Francaise des Jeux team.

"For me, his progress is inexplicable." The Spaniard was one of the few climbers to be able to stick with Dane Michael Rasmussen in the crucial mountain climbs in last year's scandal-hit Tour de France.

Rasmussen - the race leader - was thrown off the race by his Rabobank team after it was revealed he had missed a series of pre-race doping tests.

"His (Contador's) performances at last year's race were really something else, sometimes even faster than (Lance) Armstrong.

"His climb to Plateau de Beille with Rasmussen was a perfect example of how impossible it should be to climb at that speed. It begs belief!"

For Grappe, Contador's climbing in the Giro's Dolomites mountains last month was far more scientifically believable.

"Between last year's Tour and this year's Giro, it's like two different riders. On the 15th and 16th stages of the Giro, Contador's display was 10 percent less than it was on Plateau de Beille.

"It's incomprehensible! Okay, he arrived at the Giro without any special training, but when you're a well-trained professional rider, you lose three to five percent power output, not as much as 10."

He added: "Why is there so much mystery surrounding Contador if there's nothing to hide? Look at Cadel Evans. We know which Cols (passes) he trains on, how many kilometres he rides ...

"His gradual progression doesn't evoke suspicion. That's a rider I can respect."

Australia's Evans was runner-up in the Tour de France behind Contador last year.

Astana rider Contador is absent from this year's Tour after his team's non-invite due to several doping affairs concerning the Kazakh outfit last year.

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