David Brailsford says that he has considered his position as Team Sky boss after the recent controversy surrounding him and the team. He made the comments on the eve of the 2018 Giro d’Italia, where Chris Froome is the team’s star rider for the race’s start in Jerusalem on Friday.
Brailsford was part of the focus of a Parliamentary Select Committee report in March, which criticised Team Sky and British Cycling after looking at medical policies and Bradley Wiggins’s therapeutic use exemption (TUE) certificates.
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“Have I considered my position? I think anybody who works in this game considers his position,” he said when asked if the report made him think about his role at cycling’s top team.
“I’m constantly thinking, ‘Am I the right person to support the team?’ It’s not about me, my goal is to try and help these guys, not just to perform, but to perform optimally, and there’s a difference.”
The 54-page ‘Combating Doping in Sport’ report published by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee criticised “poor record keeping and poor medicines policies” within British Cycling and Team Sky.
It examined Wiggins’s TUE use for corticosteroids ahead of big races including his 2012 Tour de France win. They said, “We believe that this powerful corticosteroid was being used to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France.”
Brailsford came from British Cycling to start Team Sky in 2010. It turned into the most successful Tour de France team, winning it once with Bradley Wiggins and four times with Chris Froome, including in 2017. Along the way, regardless of the report, Brailsford has considered his place.
“I think regardless of DCMS, there’s constantly that piece of self-questioning about am I appropriately placed and have I the skills or whatever else to do that,” Brailsford said.
“And I think it’s something you ask yourself all the time. Things come and go, things change, and situations change, but I’m here and I’m here because I think I am still in a position to support these guys to be the best they can be.”
Brailsford said that he made changes in Team Sky after the report surfaced. “I’ll share them when it’s appropriate. I’m not going to share them with you right now.”
Froome is starting the Giro d’Italia for the first time with the goal to win after already competing in 2009 and 2010. The focus on Wednesday, however, turned quickly to whether Froome should even be racing given he tested above the allowed limit for asthma drug salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a España. The case is due to be heard this year, perhaps next month.
“With respect to the Giro, we’re here to talk about the race,” Brailsford said regarding Froome and what may happen with his salbutamol case.
“For the time being, we are here to focus on the fantastic start in Jerusalem. I don’t think this is the appropriate venue. We’re here to concentrate on the race and on the press conference about the race.”