Froome backs team boss Dave Brailsford in press conference ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico
Chris Froome has called the suggestion that he may have been in a group of riders treated with corticosteroids ahead of the 2012 Tour de France “complete rubbish” and has backed David Brailsford despite calls for his resignation.
Team Sky’s leader spoke on Tuesday, one day ahead of the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race where he will face rivals Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) for the overall title. It marks his second race this season after debuting to questions on his own salbutamol case at the Ruta del Sol in February.
The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee looked at the use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) at Team Sky, chiefly Bradley Wiggins’s application for corticosteroid triamcinolone ahead of the 2012 Tour de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The committee’s report said that the “powerful corticosteroid was being used to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France.”
“I’ve never seen anything like that, it’s not my experience within the team, that that’s how the team operates,” Froome said.
Asked if he was part of that preparation group for the 2012 Tour, Froome said, “No. That’s absolute rubbish, I’ve seen that accusation, but no that’s complete rubbish.”
He responded “no, no” when asked if team manager, David Brailsford should resign.
Froome joined Team Sky as an unknown rider when it began in 2010, one who few considered a potential Tour de France winner. The Brit, who now counts four victories, backed his team in light of the report’s allegations.
“I can only speak from my own experiences in the team,” Froome said. “I’ve been there for eight years, since day one, when the team started. I certainly have a very different picture to what’s been painted in the headlines.
“I’m proud to be part of the team. I wouldn’t have stayed so long, I wouldn’t have been in the team, I wouldn’t still be in the team, if I didn’t believe in the team and the people around me. Dave B has brought all those people together and we’ve got a fantastic group of people.”
Froome must race with a hurricane brewing around Monday’s report but also his own case for asthma drug salbutamol. He tested for twice the allowed limit in September en route to winning the Vuelta a España. The case is rolling ahead and Froome risks a potential suspension and stripping of the Vuelta title.
“That’s part of something I’ve been dealing with over my whole career as a pro cyclist,” Froome said when asked about how he would concentrate on racing with news in the background. “I’ve come up against adversity and I’ve learnt how to compartmentalise things. Right now, I’m here to race Tirreno and I’m focusing on that, and I’m building towards the Giro d’Italia.”