Brailsford considers future amid doping investigation

The Sky boss hints at potentially stepping down from his role at the British squad, pending the outcome of the UKAD probe.

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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Sky boss David Brailsford indicated changes could be on the horizon in the team depending on the outcome of an ongoing U.K. Anti-Doping investigation.

The UKAD is investigating Sky and British Cycling after last summer’s revelations. Reports revealed that Bradley Wiggins received TUEs to inject the corticosteroid triamcinolone ahead of the grand tours, a medical package was delivered at the last minute by British Cycling staff to Sky in France, and there were claims British cyclists were freely given Tramadol.

“Nobody continues blindly without any sort of awareness or self-awareness whatsoever,” Brailsford told The Telegraph at a team Sky camp over the weekend in Mallorca.

“My role here is to create an environment for other people to perform.”

Typically, the team’s pre-season camp is a time for talking about the upcoming season. Instead, journalists asked questions about the investigation.

Brailsford already had to answer to a Parliamentary Committee in December. The UKAD investigation continues to cloud cycling’s top team as it tries to win the Tour de France for a fourth time with Chris Froome.

Brailsford directed British Cycling’s performance team, which won 18 Olympic gold medals under his guidance. He stepped aside in 2014 to give his full attention to Team Sky. Since its inception in 2010, the team has won the Tour four times with Wiggins (2012) and Froome (2013, 2015, 2016).

Some say Brailsford should now step away from Sky. His decision if he can “keep going” may depend on the outcome of the UKAD investigation, now three months old.

“I look myself in the mirror. I don’t run through this blindly and naively thinking I can just keep going,” Brailsford said.

“I set myself high standards. If I can no longer do what I’ve set out to do, I’d think about that when we got there.”

The 2017 standards include another Tour title with Froome, a long-sought Giro d’Italia title with Mikel Landa or Geraint Thomas, and a cobbled monument.

Froome separated himself from the TUE controversy in a recent meeting with the press.

“My values haven’t changed,” Froome said. “I’ve always been very focused in terms of my stance on doping, my stance on riding clean, showing people that it is possible to win the Tour de France clean.”

Froome skipped the Mallorca camp because Sky said it was better for him to stay at home in Monaco before flying to Australia for his first races.

Brailsford explained his relationship with Froome has not change since last summer. “I wouldn’t say so,” he said. “Our communication is about how we’re going to win the Tour again this year. In that sense, it’s the same as ever.”

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