Embattled Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford has criticised the chairman of UK Anti-Doping for undermining the ongoing investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in cycling.
Brailsford was speaking at Team Sky’s annual media day in Majorca, commenting publicly for the first time since being called before parliament at the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) select committee on 19 December.
The evidence provided by Brailsford and other leading figures in British cycling was last Saturday described as “extraordinary” and “very disappointing” by UKAD chairman David Kenworthy.
“The only extraordinary thing, I think, was the chairman of UKAD’s comments the other day when he commented about an ongoing investigation,” Brailsford said.
“As an organisation like UKAD and for the chair to say it is an extraordinary thing – that’s the extraordinary thing in itself. To try to dive in halfway through and undermine that process is not… I don’t think most fair-minded people would think that was the best way of doing it. I’ll continue to contribute into that. I’m just going to respect that process, do the right thing and then, when that’s concluded, we can all move on.”
Some have called for Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director until April 2014, overseeing Olympic dominance in the velodrome, to step down from his Team Sky role amid the furore.
Brailsford insisted he was planning for the future.
“Look, I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve been focusing about getting through the winter and getting to this point,” Brailsford added. “I’m looking forward to the season and really getting involved in all of that.”
UKAD is investigating a package delivered to Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins almost six years ago, revealed in the Daily Mail last October.
The British squad’s use of therapeutic use exemptions for Wiggins, the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012, have also attracted criticism.
Team Sky have always denied “wrongdoing” and insist no anti-doping rule violation has taken place.
Damian Collins, the select committee chairman, says questions remain and witnesses may be recalled, along with new ones.
Further evidence is now likely to wait until the conclusion of the UKAD investigation.
UKAD usually only announces a conclusion to an investigation if an anti-doping rule violation has taken place. But, given the high profile of the investigation, UKAD has promised to release a statement at its conclusion.
Brailsford told parliament he was informed by Dr Richard Freeman that the package delivered to Team Sky and Wiggins at the conclusion of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine contained fluimucil, an over-the-counter decongestant when administered by a nebuliser.
Collins and UKAD say they are yet to see documentary evidence to support Team Sky’s answer.
Fluimucil has previously been used by injection to aid recovery, with Chris Froome, pictured, admitting in a 2014 interview that he received it in this way six years earlier.
But, in May 2011, the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, introduced a no-needles policy in competition.
An injection of fluimucil on any race day would be an anti-doping rule violation; so, too, would the use of triamcinolone without a TUE.
Brailsford declined to comment on the ongoing investigation or aspects of it.
Brailsford added: “Most fair-minded people recognise that, if there’s a process in place to try to establish exactly what went on, then we should wait till the end of that process, see what the findings are, see where we are at that moment. Once that’s all established, then we can all move on from there. I’m not going to get pulled down into the weeds as it were.”
Team Sky are seeking a fifth Tour de France title in six editions this summer – and a fourth for Froome, who on Friday stopped short of endorsing Brailsford at a separate media day in Monaco.
Asked about the impact on Team Sky’s integrity, Brailsford said it would be a “test of time,” but predicts future success will show “we always have done things the right way”.
He added: “It would be easy to get distracted by all of this, something that’s in the past.
“It might be making a noise out there, but, within the team, it’s business as usual.
“We’re very focused and excited about what we’re doing.”