Sky boss hits back at Ukad chief

Team Sky riders training in Mallorca. These are far from routine times at the team who have dominated the Tour de France since 2012.
Team Sky riders training in Mallorca. These are far from routine times at the team who have dominated the Tour de France since 2012.PHOTO: REUTERS

Brailsford accuses UK anti-doping chairman of intervening in an 'ongoing investigation'

LONDON • The beleaguered Team Sky head, Dave Brailsford, has criticised the chairman of UK Anti-Doping (Ukad), David Kenworthy, suggesting that, by speaking out last weekend, he may have undermined the ongoing inquiry into alleged wrongdoing in cycling.

The focus of investigations is on a mystery bag containing the mucolytic Fluimucil which was delivered to Team Sky at the Criterium du Dauphine in June 2011.

Speaking during Team Sky's media day in Mallorca on Tuesday, Brailsford asserted that he has no intention of resigning from his post.

He also reiterated that his relations with his team leader Chris Froome are on an even keel in spite of the triple Tour de France winner's unwillingness to back his boss last Friday.

He added that Ukad had begun questioning riders from Sky's squad at the 2011 Dauphine about the package and its contents.

"Extraordinary" and "very disappointing" were the terms used by Kenworthy to describe the evidence provided by Brailsford and other senior figures in British Cycling about the package's contents.

Team Sky have denied any wrongdoing, as has former Sky leader Bradley Wiggins, whom the package's contents were administered to.

Brailsford stated that it was Kenworthy's comments that were "extraordinary" given the context of an ongoing investigation and accused him of possibly "pre-empting" its conclusion.

"For him to comment in the middle of that process - I've written to Ukad to express our concerns about that," he said.

Froome seemed unable or unwilling to publicly back Brailsford's handling of the affair at his pre-season press call last Friday, and Brailsford admitted that letting their leader have his say had been a PR blunder.

"If I'd thought about it from a PR point of view I'd have told him to go straight to Australia (where Froome will train and race for the next few weeks) because it's my job to be answering the questions," he said. "It's not his place to have to be put under pressure and answer the questions that he was being asked."

The heat will remain on the Sky principal until the Ukad report delivers its verdict, but Brailsford said he is determined to remain in the post.

"People's perception of me is what it may be, I accept that totally," he said. "I know in my own mind, in my own soul that I'm doing this the right way.

"Nobody continues blindly without any self-awareness. That's not the way it works. My role is create an environment in which people can perform.

"Anyone who can't do what they are meant to be doing would ask themselves where they are at. I look at myself in the mirror and try to hold myself to the highest standards. If I can no longer do what I've set out to do I'd think about that when I got there."

As for the details of the mystery bag, Brailsford has stated that he has no wish to prejudice Ukad in its work, hence his inability to provide answers on Tuesday or at other times.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline 'Sky boss hits back at Ukad chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe