If doping is a relatively modern problem for the sports world, the Tour de France 2015 sees it colliding headfirst with a modern technological concern, as race leaders Team Sky have accused rivals of hacking their computers.
According to Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford, critics of cyclist Chris Froome (currently leading the pack in the gruelling race by 12 seconds) have tapped into their computers in an attempt to prove Froome is using performance-enhancing drugs.
“We think someone has hacked into training data and got Chris’s files,” said Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford. “We’ve got some legal guys on the case. I would never mention a name but ethically and morally if you are going to accuse someone of doping, then don’t cheat.”
Though almost all smartphones and wearables now have provision to track a user’s fitness levels and regimen, in a race as competitive as the Tour de France losing the so-called “power data” to a rival can be crippling. Any techniques or equipment breakthroughs a team has made to shave fractions of seconds off leg times is invaluable. So if hackers have infiltrated Team Sky’s reports, it could have a devastating effect, whether evidence of Froome doping is found or not. It’s fitness data hacking as industrial espionage.
“It’s part of the game, isn’t it?” he said. “If he does well [on Tuesday], the rest of the Tour it’s ‘how do you know he’s not doping?’ The question of how to prove a negative is always going to be a difficult one,” said Brailsford.
“I used to worry about it a lot more, but I don’t any more. It’s part of the game. Just try to be honest, tell the truth, be open.” [BBC]