Sir Dave Brailsford: Team Sky riders '100% back' boss, says Geraint Thomas

Sir Dave Brailsford and Geraint Thomas
Sir Dave Brailsford left British Cycling in 2014 to focus on Team Sky

Team Sky riders are "100%" behind team principal Sir Dave Brailsford, according to Geraint Thomas.

The 53-year-old has come under scrutiny since information on Sir Bradley Wiggins' authorised use of banned drugs to treat a medical condition was released by hackers.

And further questions about Team Sky's doping controls led MPs to claim its reputation was "in tatters".

"It shouldn't even need saying, but we all back Dave B 100%!", Thomas tweeted.

"I've known him a long time and I wouldn't want anyone else leading Team Sky," added the 30-year-old, who was among the first riders to join when the team was formed for the 2010 season.

Peter Kennaugh, British national road race champion in 2015, agreed with Thomas, adding: "I think all the riders on Team Sky would join me in saying they are completely behind Dave Brailsford."

"He's the leader of our super Team Sky," added Italian sprinter Elia Viviani.

Michal Kwiatkowski, the 2014 road race world champion, Owain Doull and Luke Rowe also tweeted their support for Brailsford.

The team's leading rider, three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, is one of 12 members of the 28-strong squad who have not commented publicly.

The tweets follow reports that some riders have lost confidence in Brailsford and considered asking him to resign.

Brailsford has denied any wrongdoing, saying TUEs "do not cross the line" over performance-enhancing drugs.

Last week a Parliamentary select committee heard evidence about the former Team Sky doctor who received a 'mystery package' for Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2011, Richard Freeman.

Team Sky responded saying that they were a clean team who abide by the rules.

"We are proud of our stance against doping. We believe our approach to anti-doping is rigorous and comprehensive," they said in a statement.

Analysis

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

With the future of Sir Dave Brailsford - and perhaps even Team Sky - uncertain after months of damaging revelations, this is an attempted fight-back, with several riders closing ranks around their under-fire boss at the request of management.

However, it has not escaped attention that the team's leading man, Chris Froome, is yet to make clear his support, instead tweeting about a meal he enjoyed in South Africa. And if that is an act of defiance, it could place even more pressure on Brailsford - until recently one of the most respected figures in British sport - as he tries to cling to his job.

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Watch: Brailsford's tense grilling on Team Sky

Dr Freeman 'hung out to dry'

Freeman, meanwhile, has also received the support of a former colleague.

Dave Readle, who was a sports psychologist at the governing body's high performance programme from 2008 to 2014, and worked closely with Freeman, told BBC sports editor Dan Roan that the doctor "has been thrown under the bus".

MPs at last week's select committee hearing were told how Freeman had failed to keep medical records of treatments for riders - a possible breach of General Medical Council rules, according to the UK Anti-Doping Agency - and ordered large quantities of the corticosteroid triamcinolone, that may have outstripped clinical need.

Freeman administered Wiggins' TUEs, and took delivery of the mystery medical package in France 2011. It has also been reported that fellow doctors at Team Sky blocked him applying for a fourth TUE for Wiggins, and that he was in charge of medical supplies when testosterone patches were delivered to British Cycling in 2011, apparently in error.

He has denied any wrongdoing, and is thought to be preparing written submissions to Ukad's questions.

Freeman withdrew from giving evidence to the select committee on the eve of the hearing last week due to ill health. But Readle said: "Richard has been hung out to dry. He is a loyal friend, a man of honesty, integrity and loyalty, and this is a tough time for him. All this negative publicity, he's in a state of shock.

"The fact that no one's come out to support him, after all the help he's given riders, it stinks.

"I spent a lot of time with him and everything he did was above board, there was no cutting corners."

When asked why Freeman may have failed to keep medical records, Readle said that the intensity of the workload while treating large numbers of athletes and other staff may have meant that the doctor's administration sometimes slipped.

"You get bombarded with stuff in elite sport, he wouldn't have done it deliberately. Richard had lots of athletes to treat," he said.

Dr Richard Freeman
Dr Freeman missed last week's select committee hearing

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