London (AFP) — Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has hit out over insinuations that his team’s stunning successes in recent years have been built on immoral foundations.
Sky’s Bradley Wiggins vehemently defended himself against doping allegations during his victory in last year’s Tour de France.
Brailsford, meanwhile, has admitted to having made mistakes, particularly concerning the recruitment of Belgian doctor Geert Leinders, who was working with Rabobank when two of their riders were suspended for drug use.
But Brailsford, who also masterminded Great Britain’s successes at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, says he cannot allow Internet rumors to pass unchallenged.
“If you’re a cheat, you’re a cheat, you’re not half a cheat,” Brailsford told Cyclingnews.com.
“You wouldn’t say, ‘I’ll cheat here but I’m not going to cheat over there; I’ll cheat on a Monday but not on a Tuesday.’ So we were doping in the Olympics too? If I’m a doper, if I’m a liar, I’m a liar in my personality through and through.
“So why didn’t I dope the Olympic team for the last 15 years? Have I just decided I’m going to do it with this team? I’m not going to do it over there but I’ll cheat here? Full gas.
“But we’ve dominated the Olympic games for 15 years. Explain that to me. We didn’t just win at the Olympic Games, we dominated them, we smashed it out of the park. More than anyone else has ever done. That level of performance is monumental.
“If I’m a liar and a cheat and if my ethics and morals are all about cheating, if that’s what we’re doing here, lying to the world and cheating, then surely I’ll be doing it in other places in my life. Not just parts.”
Sky’s tactics in major stage races have been likened to those of the US Postal team under disgraced dope cheat Lance Armstrong.
Sky’s riders habitually ride at the front of the peloton, controlling the pace and countering attacks, but Brailsford says they are under no obligation to provide a spectacle.
“If people want the entertainment value of riders attacking each other, stopping, attacking each other again and again, then go back to ‘old cycling’, which will give you the capability to do that,” he said. “If you want clean sport and clean cycling, then it’s going to be different. You can’t have it both ways. There’s an element of reality about what we’re doing.”