Team Sky expecting usual 'hostile environment' at Tour de France, says Dave Brailsford

The team boss says he doesn't see road side support being any more hostile considering an ongoing investigation by UK Anti-Doping

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford
(Image credit: Daniel Gould)

Team Sky boss David Brailsford says that the hostilities will be the same in the Tour de France regardless of a recent British Cycling report or an ongoing UKAD inquiry into wrongdoings.

>>> Team Sky reveal the eight riders who will support Chris Froome at the Tour de France

Last week, an independent review report of British Cycling found a "culture of fear" during the time Brailsford was performance director. Another UK Anti-Doping inquiry into Team Sky continues after reports of questionable TUEs, a medical package delivery and tramadol abuse.

"We were racing there last week in the Critérium du Dauphiné and there was absolutely no change in the support at the side of the road," Brailsford told Sky Sports.

"When we go to the Tour de France every year, ever since we started, it has been a hostile environment for us as a team to go there and win the race, so I expect no difference in that sense."

Chris Froome and Team Sky during 2016 Tour de France (Watson)
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Fans jeered and, in some instances, punched and threw urine on Sky's riders in the past. Froome had a cup of urine thrown on him mid-stage to Mende in 2015.

Extra police protected the Sky riders at the stage starts and finishes. Officers in blue, and some reportedly undercover, circled the Sky bus.

Attitudes towards the British super team, winners of four tour titles with Froome and Bradley Wiggins, will not be helped by the investigations at home.

"From an investigation point of view, we will wait for the outcome of that, but I am very confident there is no wrongdoing," Brailsford said of the UKAD investigation.

"As far as the Tour de France goes, we are very focused on the race."

Brailsford's initial reaction to the independent report into allegations of sexism and bullying within British Cycling "was disappointing."

"High-performance sport is a tough environment, there is no doubt about it, but it doesn't mean to say you have to neglect the welfare of athletes in any way," he continued.

"You have got to look at yourself in the mirror and take your own responsibility, and my frame of reference will always be to start with myself and think 'Could I have done anything differently, is there anything I could learn from that, and what can I do going forward to make sure that I get better?'

"There are some lessons to be learned but I am very proud of our time at British Cycling and to see how the sport has grown."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.