Sunday 18 August 2019

I almost quit after scandals, says Brailsford after Ineos Tour triumph

Dave Brailsford. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Dave Brailsford. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Tom Cary

Dave Brailsford says he is looking forward to further success with Team Ineos after admitting he nearly quit the sport last December.

The scandals which engulfed British Cycling and Team Sky had left him "angry" and "wanting to fight everybody". And when Sky plc told him it was pulling the plug on its 10-year sponsorship of his team, Brailsford admitted there was a moment when he could have walked away.

"There was a moment of reflection where I thought, 'What am I doing? Where is this heading?'," he said. "It would have been a natural break, a chance to take an easy way out and step away gracefully. But then you think, 'Hang on a minute,' life is all about challenges and I love the sport too much. So I thought, 'Sod it, I'm going to carry on'."

Brailsford was speaking as the sun set behind Place de la Concorde on Sunday night following Egan Bernal's victory - Colombia's first in Tour de France history - and Geraint Thomas's second place.

It was the team's seventh Tour win in eight years, but their first under new owner Jim Ratcliffe, who was in Paris to enjoy the spoils of victory.

Fan

Wearing a Colombia football top which he had just traded for his Ineos T-shirt with a Bernal fan, Brailsford was in a reflective mood.

It was only 18 months ago that a parliamentary report found Brailsford's team guilty of "crossing ethical lines" with the use of medication ahead of Bradley Wiggins' Tour win in 2012, not to mention shoddy record-keeping and transparency.

Chris Froome, the team's star rider, was simultaneously embroiled in a long-running fight to clear his name following an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol. And Brailsford who many expected to quit or be fired was "angry".

Asked whether he felt vindicated, having ridden out the storm and maintained the team's dominance, Brailsford replied: "Not really. I got to the point where I felt life is for looking forward.

"You can look back and be angry or bitter, but leading a group of other people to achieve something is a much happier place to be.

"During the Tour last year, I was angry. I felt like I was in a fight the whole time. I was stewing. Maybe age helps but, this year, I've felt a lot calmer. I don't feel any less competitive, but I've been a bit more measured and I've stopped fighting everybody." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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