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Dave Brailsford: I threw petrol on the fire

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Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford has taken part in a interview with the Telegraph Cycling Podcast in which he addresses many of the issues faced by Team Sky in recent weeks.

He talked about Team Sky’s absolute commitment to clean sport, the stance on anti doping, the debate around TUEs, the current UK Anti Doping (UKAD) investigation and a number of other current issues facing the sport.

Brailsford recognised that this has been a difficult few weeks for the Team and acknowledged that he fully understood why people might have concerns, but he restated the team’s absolute commitment to clean competition.

“The one thing I know about Team Sky is this is a clean team. I am absolutely confident in that. I’m not interested in trying to win through cheating…

“I recognise that some people might feel angry or disappointed… I do understand that people are entitled to an opinion and they can make their own judgment.

“It’s not comfortable to be in this situation, but if I didn’t think we were doing it the right way, then I wouldn’t be doing it.”

He repeated that Team Sky are looking again at the TUE policy for the 2017 season as part of the wider debate around the issue in sport, and reaffirmed that treatment would only ever be given under a TUE if there was a genuine medical need for it.

“We’ve had very, very few in our history, However, there is a debate now, of course, about whether we should change our policy going forward and look at making TUEs public…

“We’ll be reviewing how we operate with TUEs going forward, that’s for sure.”

Brailsford welcomed the current UKAD investigation, stressing that it was important that they were able to make an independent judgment.

“What we all really want is the truth and the best way to get that is via UKAD, and to let them do their full investigation and establish the fact of the matter.”

Given the ongoing UKAD investigation, he was not able to address some of the specific details involved. Team Sky has conducted its own thorough internal investigation into the issue and Brailsford restated his absolute confidence that no wrongdoing had occurred.

“…I can’t see any wrongdoing. However, I think it is important that this is put to an independent third party, as it were, who can absolutely interview everyone and go through and determine if there was any wrongdoing or not. And in my view that’s exactly what we need to happen.”

He acknowledged that his own handling of the issue over recent days had not helped the situation as, by providing a running commentary to the media, he had inadvertently got facts wrong.

“I should have waited until the whole of the picture was complete and I had all of the facts and I could have said, OK, this is what happened and this is where we’re at, instead of being seen to contradict myself.

“From what was a very small fire, if you like, I inadvertently threw a huge amount of petrol on it and two and two equals ten now… I hold my hand up here – I haven’t done a very good job of this one, unfortunately, and have probably made the situation worse.”

Brailsford underlined: “…We’re not in this to cheat. We’re in it to create a team that is absolutely clean…

“I feel a great weight of responsibility towards doing the right thing – and demonstrating that we’re doing the right thing. You genuinely don’t want to let people down.”