Chris Froome (Sky) is winning the Tour de France at the worst time possible, according to Team Principal David Brailsford. This year’s edition comes on the heels of the Lance Armstrong scandal, which uncovered years of doping and saw the American stripped of seven Tour titles.

“It’s probably the worst Tour to try to win, the one where all the Armstrong thing comes out, the lids taken off and everybody realised what was going on,” Brailsford told press including Cycling Weekly.

“You come to the first Tour after that… You’d expect that the public who trusted in this sport for a long time to be a bit angry and a bit frustrated with what they found out. It’s understandable.”

This year, Froome has been under attack. Since taking the yellow jersey, journalists have asked him about Sky’s impressive performances, his rapid rise, therapeutic use exemptions and power output.

On Thursday, French newspaper L’Equipe revealed it worked with the team to have its data analysed by sports science expert, Frederic Grappe. Grappe claimed there was nothing abnormal with what he saw. Brailsford hopes this helps win Froome some more support.

“We did what we thought was right. I can’t tell you what the reaction is, but if it’s a positive reaction, then that’s great… We’ve been in touch with UK Anti-Doping, that ball’s rolling now, we’ve been in touch with WADA, that ball is rolling,” Brailsford added.

“I think people believed in the Lance era when deep down maybe they knew they shouldn’t have. They are [doing that now] and disbelieving in Chris, where deep down they probably know they should.”

Froome, contrary to Bradley Wiggins when initially asked last year, has responded calmly when quizzed over doping in the Tour.

“I completely understand that being in this position, being in the yellow jersey, it’s perfectly normal to come under this level of scrutiny,” Froome said today in a press conference. “I accept it; it comes with the yellow jersey. Whoever would be in this jersey would be under the same microscope.”

He leads the race by 5-11 minutes over Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) with only two stages remaining, including tomorrow’s mountain stage to Annecy-Semnoz.

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  • Robert

    Jmes wrote “get the facts right before leaping in with the mudslinging”. And the fact is that Brailsford was a key party to this little PR exercise, as noted above. Quote, “L’Equipe revealed it WORKED WITH THE TEAM to have its data analysed”. It is also a fact that, following the final exposure of Armstrong, Grappe, at best, has no credibility and at worst is a proven apologist for dopers. It also seems unbelievable that a ‘management genius’ like Brailsford would have failed to spend two minutes searching the web in order to check out Grappe’s history. It is much the same story with Brailsford’s offer to let WADA somehow ‘validate’ Froome’s data. They were never going to do this and Brailsford must have known that doing so would have been completely outside their remit, so once again it is hard to believe that this ‘offer’ was anything more than a PR exercise. Bottom line is, I would LOVE to be able to have total faith in the authenticity of Froome’s performances. Unfortunately much of what Brailsford does undermines my faith rather then building it. I would have been much more impressed if Brailsford had, for example, asked someone with real credibility, such as Dr. Mike Ashenden, to ‘validate’ Froome’s data. It is perhaps significant that he did not choose to do so.

  • JeffGoldblumIII

    The data they gave to Grappa was post-unbelievable 2011 Vuelta transformation

  • Jmes

    Robert…except it wasn’t SKY that called Grappe..It was L’Equipe who assigned the expert, that was one of the conditions that SKY stipulated, that L’Equipe have control over whom analysed the data, only that it not be made public.

    Perhaps you should get the facts right before leaping in with the mudslinging????

  • Terry

    Is it any wonder if Cunego and his 26 chums are still ‘at it’ ??

  • Robert

    Whether Froome is doping or not, once again Brailsford has only added fuel to the flames by his actions. Quote: “Frederic Grappe. Grappe claimed there was nothing abnormal with what he saw. Brailsford hopes this helps win Froome some more support.” Thing is, Grappe said exactly the same about Armstrong:………………………. CyclingNews February 9, 2001. La Francaise des Jeux trainer, Frédéric Grappe, has come out in support of Lance Armstrong, after doping accusations have been leveled at him and the U.S. Postal team. In an in depth interview with L’Equipe, Grappe said that Armstrong’s results have come through hard work and not hard drugs, despite the climate of suspicion that still surrounds cycling (especially in France) at the moment… He then commented on the accusations that have been made against Lance Armstrong regarding ‘impossible’ power outputs. “Certain people say silly things. When we are told that a rider is not able to put out 420 – 430 Watts in a time trial, that is false. Not so long ago, one of the riders with whom I was involved climbed Mont Faron at a power of 400 Watts for 20 minutes, and he is far from being Armstrong. Consequently, I am not astonished that Armstrong or others can produce 460 or 470 Watts on a mountain. It is not impossible.”…………….. Actually, reading that is perfectly clear why Brailsford gave Grappe a call. Perhaps, as when he hired Geert Leinders, he thought that the public would ‘forget’ his history.

  • george jones


    We’ve been in touch with UK Anti-Doping, that ball’s rolling now, we’ve been in touch with WADA, that ball is rolling,” Brailsford added. ”

    Sorry Mr Brailsford but they have both said no thank you !!!
    Another Team Sky press disaster !!!

  • Ken Evans

    It is BECAUSE of the cleaning up of the sport after LA et al, that clean riders have a better chance, and it is more difficult for dopers.