Team Sky boss Brailsford hits back at UKAD chairman

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 10, 2017 1:32 PM

By Martyn Herman

ALCUDIA, Mallorca (Reuters) - Under-fire Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford has accused the chairman of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) of double standards as the body's investigation into alleged wrongdoing in British cycling casts a cloud over the start of the new season.

Speaking at Team Sky's training camp on Tuesday in his first media briefing since being questioned by a parliamentary committee in December, he criticized David Kenworthy for describing the evidence Brailsford and other British Cycling figures gave to MPs as "disappointing" and "extraordinary".

Team Sky and British Cycling, the national governing body, have been under scrutiny over the use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) and a mystery package delivered to Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Dauphine race.

Brailsford told the Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Dec. 19 that he had been told by former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman that the package, delivered by a British Cycling coach, had been the legal flu remedy Fluimucil.

"I was very surprised he (Kenworthy) came out with those comments," Brailsford, the brains behind Britain's rise to cycling dominance and the Tour de France victories of Wiggins and Chris Froome, told Reuters at the team hotel.

"I think most people would say let's wait until the process has come to a conclusion.

"We were asked to respect that process, which we have, then for the chair of that organization (UKAD) to make comments, very interesting comments let's say, saying it's extraordinary, then the only extraordinary thing is that he made the comments in the first place," he added.

"If there is an allegation, then there is a process and it goes to the right authority. They have the right to investigate people, talk to the right people and get the information.

"If we are all being held to account in terms of the highest standards and process, then we should see that process through. It feels like it's been a little confused by people jumping in and talking about it halfway through."

Brailsford has written a letter of complaint to UKAD.

TEAM FOCUSED

Despite outgoing UKAD chairman Kenworthy vowing to continue to "dig and delve" to prove what was in the package, Brailsford said it was business as usual for his riders.

"It would preferable if the whole (UKAD) process had been complete by now but it's not," he said. "It's something I'm dealing with. The rest of the team are fully engaged in what they're doing, it's not distracting them, not an issue.

"They are focused on their training and what they are trying to do."

Sky have also been forced to defend the use of TUEs since hacked medical records showed Wiggins was granted one for the banned anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone before the 2011 Tour, his 2012 triumph and the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

Triple Tour winner Froome said last week he had turned down a TUE at the 2015 race, which he won, on moral grounds.

Brailsford said he sympathized with Froome's stance, saying the issue of TUEs needed to be more transparent.

"(Chris) is on to something there. What everyone needs is real clarity about the TUE process," Brailsford said.

"The process has to be as robust as possible and the onus has to be on the authorities to make sure that if they sign something off nothing reflects badly on the athlete."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)