Brailsford and Froome given rough ride ahead of Giro
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford admitted for the first time last night that he had considered resigning, as the squad made a hugely uncomfortable start to the Giro d'Italia here, with Chris Froome having to fend off questions over his salbutamol case.
The race does not start until tomorrow but, if this was a sign of things to come, it promises to be a difficult three weeks for Sky.
Froome repeated what he has said many times since his adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug was made public; that he could understand all the questions, that he felt he had done nothing wrong, that he was confident he would be exonerated and would be riding in the Tour de France this summer.
But that did not make the atmosphere any less awkward. Of the dozen or so questions put to Sky, 80pc concerned Froome's salbutamol case or other recent controversies, and 100pc were put to either Froome or Brailsford. Sky's seven other riders for this race could only watch on helplessly. It was Brailsford's admission that he had considered his future as Sky principal that was of most note.
The former performance director of British Cycling has kept a low profile this season.
This was the first time he had spoken at all since the publication of the Digital, Culture Media and Sport select committee's stinging report into doping in sport in March, which concluded that Sky had effectively "played the system" by giving Therapeutic Use Exemptions to Bradley Wiggins before three of the biggest races of his career, including his victorious 2012 Tour de France. MPs labelled those treatments "unethical".
After a brief dispute with a journalist over exactly how accessible he had been this year -Brailsford insisted he had been at all the races and would have been willing to speak with anyone - he was asked whether he had considered resigning.
"I think anybody in this game considers their position every day," he replied. "I would say that I'm constantly asking if I'm the right man to lead these guys. Because it's not about me, let's be honest. My role is to help these guys not just to perform but to perform optimally, and there's a difference."
Froome has always denied any wrongdoing and he repeated that stance here.
"I can understand the frustration - this whole process was meant to be confidential and we're going to respect that," said Froome. "We're in that process now and I need to demonstrate I've done nothing wrong and that's what I intend to do. It's not something I'm going to give a running commentary on and when there is something new we'll talk about it." (© Daily Telegraph, London)