Suffering the backlash of the USADA Reasoned Decision, Sky’s Chris Froome was subjected to a relentless barrage of doping questions as he rode to a dominating Tour de France victory.
Halfway through the Tour, team boss David Brailsford became so frustrated that he turned the questions back on the press — what can we do to prove Froome is clean?
First, they released a good portion of his performance data so expects could dig into his wattage numbers.
Now, the team has taken that transparency to a new and perhaps too revealing level.
Froome posted a photo of himself in the new Rapha Sky 2014 kit and generated an instant buzz of shock and perhaps bemusement.
The fabric proved so transparent that a “modesty panel” over the groin and buttocks area was the only nod to modestly. Cycling experts were quick to spot the intentions behind the sheer fabric.
“There’s no question that Sky and Froome are saying “look, this is as transparent as things get. You can see literally everything except the naughty bits,” said French cycling journalist Cyrille Toutnue. “He wants to be viewed as a clean rider and if people can see everything, then there’s nothing to hide.”
While many ProTour squads have presented their new kits, nothing is as close to naked as the Rapha Sky kit. “It’s like a visual drug test,” said Michael Skinshew, a WADA anti-doping expert. “There’s nothing to hide. I mean, other than riding naked, he can’t strip down any further. I appreciate the thinking.”
Froome himself tweeted that “This skin suit takes #marginalgains to the next level.” It’s also taking his insistence on proving his clean stance to the next level. “Chris wants to be a Tour de France winner that the people can believe in,” said a source close to the Sky squad. “If he has to strip naked, then that’s what he’s going to do. Sure, it’s a little embarrassing — especially for such a skinny guy — but if it silences the doubters, then it’s worth the skin show.”
However, the revealing new kit hasn’t won over the entire Sky team. Enigmatic star and former Tour winner Sir Bradley Wiggins has reportedly refused to wear the hyper-transparent kit. Speaking with the Times Herald, he called the revealing design “preposterous.” “This isn’t some burlesque routine, you know what I mean? If I have to wear that shite, I’m going back to the track,” said Wiggins.