Just two days after the anti-doping case against Chris Froome was dismissed by the UCI, Team Sky have released data and documents showing the planning and preparation of Froome’s fuelling at the Giro d’Italia and the numbers behind his long-range attack over the Colle delle Finestre on stage 19.
The documents, which were provided to BBC Sport in June and published on Wednesday, give an insight into the team and rider’s approach to the final two weeks of the Giro d’Italia, which he won by 46 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin.
Among the files is an “energy expenditure/fuelling plan” for stage 19, setting out the power numbers which he would be aiming for on various parts of the stage (including an hour at 400 watts on the Colle delle Finestre) and what that meant for the amount of carbohydrates that he would be using.
The stage is split into seven phases, which are then seen again in another document analysing Froome’s performance from the day.
This document shows that Froome averaged 603 watts for 16 seconds as he accelerated away from his rivals with 80km to go, before settling in for 24 minutes at 401 watts with an average heart rate of just 150 bpm for the rest of the climb.
These numbers may seem like a lot, but the data shows how hard Team Sky made the first half of the climb in an effort to soften up Froome’s rivals, with the 33-year-old having to average 408 watts for the first 40 minutes of the climb even while sitting in the wheels.
Unsurprisingly Froome’s power was slightly lower for the final climb of the Jafferau, averaging 392 watts for the 25 minutes effort. This was well short of the 450 watts that Froome was aiming for according to the team’s place, but still enough to see him maintain the gap to Dumoulin and ultimately set up the overall race victory.
We also get a look at what exactly Froome ate to fuel that epic ride, starting the day with a big breakfast of nearly 1,000 calories that included 400g of rice, an omelette of three whites and one yolk, and four pancakes with jam.
During the ride itself it seems like there might have been as much stress on Froome’s digestive system as his legs as he punched through a massive 14 energy gels along with two bottles of SIS Beta Fuel drink and four plain rice cakes to give a total calorie consumption of 2,348 calories.
Froome then got through the same number of calories in the hours after the race with a recovery drink, smoothie, rice, and Haribo, before another 1,000 calorie dinner consisting of yet more rice and salmon to set him up for the final day in the mountains on stage 20.
What’s interesting is that we can also compare what Froome ate on this crucial day to his diet earlier in the race, and how this ties in with a team plan for him to lose weight as the race progressed.
In general, riders either maintain or gain weight over the course of a Grand Tour, but Froome was actually aiming to lose weight during the first two weeks of the race in order to hit his perfect racing weight of 68.5kg for the final three mountain stages.
With this in mind, Froome’s diet from stage 11 of the race – a 159km rolling stage won by Simon Yates on a punchy uphill finish – shows the relatively small amount of food that he was eating at this point.
According to the documents, Froome ate just 2,566 calories during the day, including a breakfast consisting of just a plain omelette and a small glass of juice totalling 524 calories and a dinner of even more rice, vegetables, and chicken totalling just 445 calories.
With an energy expenditure more than 3,000kJ combined with 2,000 calories that his body would have burned just to stay functioning, this gives Froome a significant calorie deficit that would help him shed weight through the middle week of the race.