Ian Boswell says he doesn't know if Chris Froome was the user behind the mysterious 'Luke Skywalker' Strava account

Chris Froome may have been using Strava with a secret name, but Sky teammate and training partner at the time Ian Boswell says that he does not know what he was doing.

The two trained together in South Africa in March, at the time that a cyclist was uploading to Strava with the account name Luke Skywalker and on the same rides as Boswell. The account was deleted only one month after it was created and shortly after it was made public.

>>> Chris Froome’s possible presence on Strava didn’t last long

“He was asking me about Strava while we were there. I was using it, but I don’t if he was actually using it or not,” Boswell said on Froome on Wednesday morning at the Giro d’Italia.

“I don’t know. Seriously. We were in different apartments. I don’t know what he was doing on his computer.”

In South Africa, the two trained at altitude at the same time that team Orica-GreenEdge were there with Adam and Simon Yates, and Esteban Chaves.

“I know Chaves is on Strava, as well. I was telling [Froome] the times we did up climbs compared to the GreenEdge guys. It’s fun to compare like that especially when you go training where there’s only really us and maybe GreenEdge. I feel bad though, because the locals had some KOMs and the pros show up and put the times out of reach.


Watch: Pro bike – Chris Froome


“He kept asking me about it. I was telling him times, that I thought that we went this much faster up the climbs than Chaves or that we were this much slower. And he said, ‘I think we can break that tomorrow if we go harder.'”

The American from Oregon is quickly rising up the ranks within Sky. He trains regularly around his base in Nice, France, and said that he has a “strong” Strava segment on part of the Madone climb near Monaco and that he is proud of setting the fastest time up Mount Baldy in the Tour of California last year because he took it off of friend and former Team Sky rider Joe Dombrowski.

“I’ll always use it because it doesn’t say anything. The files from Strava are just a time up a climb, it doesn’t share any secret information.

“People are always trying to analyse Froome’s efforts, which is bogus. Even at times, I’ll have a Strava file where the signal gets confused and shows me as a minute faster where I went slower.

“He also runs those Q-rings so that power is different. He can run side by side with me, but his power is way different than me even if we are similar weight and aerodynamic-drags.”

Boswell has other things to consider. In the Giro, he will be one of Mikel Landa’s most important helpers in the mountains with Nicolas Roche and Mikel Nieve. He hopes that a good showing this year puts him in line for the Tour de France.

Ian Boswell on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Ian Boswell on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

“But not this year! I hope not! Anything is possible, but I don’t think I’m even on the long list for it.

“I think the team is being pretty cautious with my development and making sure I’m managed pretty well. Just the stress of the Tour, maybe not the physical racing, is more than the Vuelta [a España] or the Giro. I think this is probably the logical progression to come here after the Vuelta,” Boswell added.

“My goal this year was to get integrated in that Tour group, which I did. In the Tenerife camp, it was pretty much all the guys plus myself. It was good to increase the training and work effort, and focus they have to start to transition to that style.”

  • Michael

    I think you’re most definitely describing scenarios that fall into the “delusion at work” category.

    If you ride slowly to some short segment, sprint up it and then decide you’ve beaten a pro you’re just kidding yourself.

    Indeed, you’re mostly kidding yourself at this point if you decide you’ve beaten anyone aren’t you?

    Otherwise every cyclist would look like Kittel and ride for 15 seconds at 1.5kw+

    So yeah, I assumed a level of nous here. Where, if, say, Alex Dowsett is riding across the country to fetch his new Lotus and crosses through your town that you don’t look at the Strava segments he crossed and decide that “he didn’t beat me!” on some of them. if he was just casually riding 100 miles, you went all out for 400 yards then you’re just deluding yourself if you think you beat a pro.

    I imagine Chris Froome is thinking “Win the TdF for a 3rd time” not “Hmm, I could get KOM on that 1 minute climb if I jump the lights and sprint” when he’s out training.

    In the climbs we’re talking about here you really can’t fake it though, you’d need to climb at a sustained threshold wattage to grab the KOM that an amateur is not going to achieve (without cheating) once a pro has put in a concerted effort to go up the climb fast.

    Even then, I have 5km sections I’ve ridden regularly where my average speed (which is after all what strava seems to think is important) has varied from 18kph to 27kph. Some of that is increased effort, some of it is a hybrid v a road bike, some of that is me getting fitter. But it’s mostly measuring the weather not my performance.

    I notice on Garmin connect segments, especially where people have power meters, that it’s largely a complicated system using cyclists and electronic devices to estimate wind speed.

    Really what matters for a race is whoever crosses the line first or has the lowest time over a period of days or weeks. This is the only real place where speed is worth considering.

    Measuring speed on different days, bikes, ages and conditions is telling you nothing. Indeed, it makes little sense comparing times against yourself on different days, let alone random strangers whose conditions you don’t see or know.

    Strava is gaming human psyche – in the same way that slot machines and computer games do. They hope you’ll get so into it that you’ll fork out for a premium account.

    The real thing that you should care about is how many watts/kg you put out and for how long. That’s comparable to your previous rides along the same route, and reasonably comparable with other people. Let’s face it – the pro cyclists win here. In most cases, the female pro cyclists would beat amateurs.

  • tony365

    Ian seems like a good kid and truly humble, its not really bragging saying that the pro’s are way faster, I agree with Michael.

  • LMaster

    Well, that really depends. The pros are very rarely hitting the climbs at ‘full gas’. Oftentimes it’s at tempo or threshold, so you get lots of climbs of 10-20 minutes being done at 80%-100% of FTP.

    So what they are generally leaving behind is 10′-20′ segments being done at 5-6 w/kg. There are plenty of amateurs that can handle 5-5.5 w/kg for say 15′, and some very good ones are capable of doing 6 w/kg for that duration if they bring their ‘A’ game.

    Now, obviously if the pro guys are really hitting it at full gas for testing efforts or as a part of training then it becomes damn near impossible to grab those KOMs. Then, if it’s a race situation at full gas those KOMs become utterly impossible out of reach. With peleton domestiques to do the early work you often get extended climbing in the 7+ w/kg range in a race setting for 20+ minutes. I doubt most pros could take KOMs set by the racing pro peleton tbh, let alone amateurs.

  • Michael

    No they’re not.

    That’s just delusion at work.

  • Samuel Clemens

    Thanks for the lesson professor.

    Still think that’s a humblebrag. If he really felt so bad, how hard is it to ‘make private’. Not that hard.

    And anyway, some amateurs are quite capable of ripping the KOMs off the pros, even without the ‘preparation’ those pros enjoy.

  • Michael

    Not a humblebrag.

    A humblebrag is a “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud”

    “I feel bad though, because the locals had some KOMs and the pros show up and put the times out of reach.” has no modesty or self-deprecating content.

    He just said a fact – that their (pro cyclist) times up the climbs are much faster than the locals can ever hope to achieve. He’s expressing his negative feelings for taking these KOMs from less capable cyclists – this is not humility though – he’s not for one moment downplaying his ability to get these segments.

    If he’d said “I put on 10kg over winter and my FTP is 100 watts down so I’m not sure how I got so many KOM in South Africa” then that would be a humble brag – i.e the statement appears to be saying he’s fat and slow after the winter but it’s really bragging about getting some KOMs.

  • Samuel Clemens

    Nice humblebrag about putting the koms out of reach of those weak locals.