Dave Brailsford reveals shock at scale of USADA revelations and disappointment in Michael Barry

Recently retired Canadian rider failed to disclose past doping when he joined Team Sky

by Simon_MacMichael   October 11, 2012  

Dave Brailsford CBE

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford has described as “jaw dropping” the extent of the allegations of doping contained in the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s reasoned decision in the Lance Armstrong case, published yesterday, and has expressed his disappointment in the team’s rider, Michael Barry, who has admitted doping while riding for the US Postal Service team.

"It is shocking, it's jaw dropping and it is very unpleasant, it's not very palatable and anybody who says it is would be lying wouldn't they,” Brailsford told Sky Sports.

"You can see how the sport got lost in itself and got more and more extreme because it seemed to be systematic and everybody seemed to be doing it at the time - it completely and utterly lost its way and I think it lost its moral compass.

"Everybody has recalibrated and several teams like ourselves are hell-bent on doing it the right way and doing it clean.

"The challenge is that it is understandable now for people to look at any results in cycling and question that."

Barry, who joined Team Sky ahead of its debut season in 2010, is among the 11 former team mates of Armstrong who have provided testimony to USADA. The Canadian is the only non-American rider to have done so.

In a sworn affidavit, the 36-year-old recounts how he became immersed in the doping culture at US Postal, the team he rode for from 2002 to 2006, and ended up using EPO and other banned substances.

With Team Sky founded on a strict zero tolerance approach to doping, something that still applies to riders although Brailsford has acknowledged that the policy is impossible to enforce when it comes to team staff, it is clear that Barry failed to disclose his past doping when he joined the British outfit.

"We signed Michael from HTC which was at the time highly regarded as being a very sound, clean team and during his time at Team Sky we have had absolutely no cause for concern whatsoever, there has never been any question in terms of his performances, his training, his behaviour on the team - there have never been any issues in that respect,” said Brailsford.

"But ultimately he lied and we set out with a zero tolerance policy so we said that anyone who has had a doping conviction from the past or proved to have been involved on doping hasn't got a place on Team Sky - that is our policy.

"When you take someone you ask them a question and if someone lies to you and you find out later it's disappointing."

Barry, who revealed last month that the Montreal Grand Prix was his final race as a professional, rendering the six-month ban he faces as symbolic, insists in a statement on his personal website that from 2006 onwards he was riding clean.

“Cycling has always been a part of my life,” said Barry. “As a boy my dream was to become a professional cyclist who raced at the highest level in Europe. I achieved my goal when I first signed a contract with the United States Postal Service Cycling team in 2002. Soon after I realized reality was not what I had dreamed. Doping had become an epidemic problem in professional cycling.

“Recently, I was contacted by United States Anti-Doping Agency to testify in their investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs on the United States Postal Service Team. I agreed to participate as it allowed me to explain my experiences, which I believe will help improve the sport for today’s youth who aspire to be tomorrow’s champions.

“After being encouraged by the team, pressured to perform and pushed to my physical limits I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not: I doped. It was a decision I deeply regret. It caused me sleepless nights, took the fun out of cycling and racing, and tainted the success I achieved at the time. This was not how I wanted to live or race.

“In the summer of 2006, I never doped again and became a proponent of clean cycling through my writing and interviews.

“From 2006 until the end of my career in 2012, I chose to race for teams that took a strong stance against doping. Although I never confessed to my past, I wrote and spoke about the need for change.  Cycling is now a cleaner sport, many teams have adopted anti-doping policies and most importantly I know a clean rider can now win at the highest level.

“I apologize to those I deceived. I will accept my suspension and any other consequences. I will work hard to regain people’s trust.

“The lessons I learned through my experiences have been valuable. My goal now is to help turn the sport into a place where riders are not tempted to dope, have coaches who they can trust, race on teams that nurture talent and have doctors who are concerned for their health. From direct experience, I know there are already teams doing this but it needs to be universal throughout cycling.

“Progressive change is occurring. My hope is that this case will further that evolution,” he concluded.
 

27 user comments

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I hope nobody uses the "never failed a test" argument again. There's an awful lot of riders - like Barry here, and indeed like David Millar - who never failed a test but aren't pretending that means they were clean.

Edgeley

posted by Edgeley [159 posts]
11th October 2012 - 10:31

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This really is a sad situation. It spoils the sport I love.

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
11th October 2012 - 10:58

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To be honest, I'd be amazed if Sky (or, indeed, any pro team) had a squad and staff entirely untainted by doping. I'm happy to believe that Sky (and by extension British Cycling) have always had a strict no-doping ethos - but it seems impossible that none of their experienced team have no history of contact with doping.

Getting rid of all dopers from the sport of pro-cycling would be a bit like the de-Ba'athification of Iraq after the second Gulf war. A good idea in principal, but disastrous in practice. Much as I abhor any UCI sponsorship of such, the much-mooted 'truth and reconciliation committee' amnesty-on-dopers approach may well be what the sport needs to move on.

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posted by Ghedebrav [1037 posts]
11th October 2012 - 11:19

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Edgely, Completely agree with you. Even better, while many riders who we now know doped indeed "never failed a test", that's NOT the case for Armstrong! He DID fail tests! By '05 it was crystal clear he had tested positive for EPO use during the '99 tour + that his '99 corticosteroid positive did NOT have a valid medical reason. He just never was sanctioned for these.

posted by Paul J [561 posts]
11th October 2012 - 12:24

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Could someone have a quiet word with that prize pratt Alex Dowsett please? Still thinks that LA is a 'legend' and this whole nasty doping thing 'doesn't matter'. See also: Bradley 'I love him' Wiggins.

Idiots.

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posted by Chuffy [183 posts]
11th October 2012 - 12:52

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Fact correction - Swart gave evidence, he's a Kiwi.

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posted by alotronic [247 posts]
11th October 2012 - 13:13

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Yates is still there.....

They employed Fabio Bartalucci who was involved in the Blitz Raids of 2001 while working for Bonjour,

Quote:
Police raided the hotels of riders in San Remo during the evening after Stage 17 of the 2001 Giro d'Italia. Numerous banned substances were found. The indictment list started out with about 84 names before thinning to 51."

Then Morris Possoni who was involved in the Ferrari investigations.

Sky can portray their whiter than white look if they want, but they are just not as clean as they like to make out

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posted by Gkam84 [8701 posts]
11th October 2012 - 13:29

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In 1989 Sky Directeur Sportif Sean Yates tested positive in a doping test in the first stage of Torhout-Werchter. So Brailsford's statement that "we said that anyone who has had a doping conviction from the past or proved to have been involved on doping hasn't got a place on Team Sky - that is our policy" is simply untrue.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
11th October 2012 - 13:31

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I wonder what the deal is with Mick Rogers. Levi's testimony names him as present with Levi, LA, Vino, Kashechkin at Dr Ferrari's 'training' camps in Tenerife.

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
11th October 2012 - 13:43

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Dowsett always talked like he had a brain. Shame on him.

posted by armitage shanks [6 posts]
11th October 2012 - 14:27

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posted by phax71 [300 posts]
11th October 2012 - 14:32

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Looks like Brailsford could have been taking ducking and diving lessons from McQuaid.

antonio

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posted by antonio [937 posts]
11th October 2012 - 14:38

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Lol - thats is class.

Having not seen the Sky sports interview DB gave did he say no Sky rider or Sky employee in relation to being clean. Minor point i know but if he meant rider then it doesnt include Yates ?

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2680 posts]
11th October 2012 - 14:41

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I'm firmly in the camp of 'so long as they aren't still doing it, I'm not worried what the riders were up to in the height of the EPO era'. But it really isnt that credible for Sky to have claimed that they couldnt have known about Barry's history - it certainly isn't 'jaw-dropping'.

I know Brailsford has to say something in order to keep the Sky image clean now, but he could have done a better job of it than this.

posted by step-hent [654 posts]
11th October 2012 - 14:54

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Yeah, I am not sure what Dave Brailsford really expected of Michael Barry. An admission of doping counts as a positive test and he is hardly going to to fess up to stuff he did years ago and get a ban. They are signing a pro cyclist, not Mother Theresa. Sky are just trying to look whiter than white - still at least he dind't say he saw drug taking going on at HTC and Sky ....

posted by Chris James [164 posts]
11th October 2012 - 15:04

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I'll be interested to hear how Armstrong knew Wiggins's exact power figures in March 2010 (emails between LA and Ferrari Jr).

posted by steff [81 posts]
11th October 2012 - 15:27

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Steff, after his performance in the 2009 TdF perhaps Armstrong was after info about Wiggo's performance as he saw him as a major threat ?

Or

He might have wondered how someone clean can produce such figures when he blatantly could not even with drugs Thinking Thinking

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2680 posts]
11th October 2012 - 16:06

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Stumpy, I'm sure he was very interested in Wiggo's performance figures, which would be perfectly reasonable. What I'm interested to know is how he was able to say "I was doing this many watts, but Wiggo was doing that many" (he gave precise figures for both - don't have the PDF handy here). Which suggests either that Wiggins/Sky/someone else told him, which would be odd as TTists generally don't like to share that data, or that they were training together which makes me feel a bit ill, frankly, because as I say I very much want Wiggo to (have) be(en) clean.

posted by steff [81 posts]
11th October 2012 - 16:28

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stumps wrote:
Steff, after his performance in the 2009 TdF perhaps Armstrong was after info about Wiggo's performance as he saw him as a major threat ?

Or

He might have wondered how someone clean can produce such figures when he blatantly could not even with drugs Thinking Thinking


It's not the why, it's the how, although there are plenty of ways to estimate power output.

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posted by Chuffy [183 posts]
11th October 2012 - 16:30

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steff wrote:
Stumpy, I'm sure he was very interested in Wiggo's performance figures, which would be perfectly reasonable. What I'm interested to know is how he was able to say "I was doing this many watts, but Wiggo was doing that many" (he gave precise figures for both - don't have the PDF handy here). Which suggests either that Wiggins/Sky/someone else told him, which would be odd as TTists generally don't like to share that data, or that they were training together which makes me feel a bit ill, frankly, because as I say I very much want Wiggo to (have) be(en) clean.

So.....the fact that Sky weren't even a team in 2009.....

Wiggo was a rider with Garmin. His team manager being Jonathan Vaughters.....

Wiggo also said this post Giro 2009

Quote:
"After that I thought ‘maybe I can do something at the Tour"

"In a ten-mile time trial I averaged 482 watts for 18 minutes, and if I did a 30-minute test on a climb I'd be averaging 475 watts"

So going on his Giro data that he gave away himself, its not hard to work it out.

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posted by Gkam84 [8701 posts]
11th October 2012 - 20:38

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Likewise after last years world TT Wiggins and Sky sat down and worked out Tony Martin's power output from footage. Wiggins worked out he couldn't match it and switched to a bigger gear and retained his high cadence to beat Martin at the Olympics (can't remember where I read all this).

I'm sure it isn't difficult to work out power if you've got decent footage although I don't know how you go about it.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
12th October 2012 - 8:43

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Given the 'amnesty' idea being mostly accepted by the public, those who count the most in the eyes of sponsors, shouldnt we drop the whole 'whiter than white' approach Sky take on doping?

Let just say that teams accept riders and staff that have admitted openly to their pasts, publicly, so there are no ghosts in closests to come back to bite them.

Then we can move on - implement changes and secure a safe future for our sport.

The very next thing would be securing a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the UCI.

Getting rid of the UCI wouldnt help, infact it would put things back 20yrs or more, but the leadership has shown no willingness to accept its part in this entire epidemic. Thats has to change NOW!

Momentum has already changed our opinions, let it change our sport for the good while its there.

posted by Farky [177 posts]
12th October 2012 - 9:26

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Gkam84 wrote:

So.....the fact that Sky weren't even a team in 2009.....

Wiggo was a rider with Garmin. His team manager being Jonathan Vaughters.....

Wiggo also said this post Giro 2009

Quote:
"After that I thought ‘maybe I can do something at the Tour"

"In a ten-mile time trial I averaged 482 watts for 18 minutes, and if I did a 30-minute test on a climb I'd be averaging 475 watts"

That's exactly what I was looking for, thank you. Not the exact figures, but the announcing of figures in public. He had signed for Sky by the time of the email BTW, it was announced December '09, some three months before. If he was in the habit of announcing figures, that pretty much erases the horrible image of cooperative off-season training between LA and BW, which is a great relief.

posted by steff [81 posts]
12th October 2012 - 11:59

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I don't know how they calculate this stuff but I recall a comment by Jonathan Vaughters after Ricco (and a teammate) got busted for cera at the TdF a few years ago after a break from the peloton by RR. Vaughters reckoned the watts required to do that were not natural.

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posted by Blackhound [436 posts]
12th October 2012 - 18:01

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I'm not a scientist, but I understand it is possible to work out a riders power output when climbing. On climbs that last more than 20 minutes if you know the rider's weight and the total altitude gained it is possible to work out a rough idea of watts/kg. Of course things like wind speed and direction and road surface can make a difference.
Experts are using these results to flag up suspicious performance saying anything over 6.1 watts/kg (i think thats correct number) is suspicious. Which is why Hesjedal and Wiggins Grand Tour wins were seen as clean because they were consistantly below 6 watts/kg. Of course in order to do these calculations you need to know the riders exact weight.
There was a report that came out a few years ago that tried to prove Armstrong won clean by putting his post-cancer improvements down to weight loss therefore he could put out the same power but go faster because he weighed less. Unfortunately the scientist took Lance's word that he was 72kgs when in fact he was several kgs heavier thus distorting the results.
It is quite an interesting subject, which I think Sky used in the Tour de France. They knew that if they rode a climb at a certain speed and someone tried to breakaway they knew that it would be impossible for a rider that wasn't doping to put out enough watts to stay clear.
Personally, I think power meters might useful training devices, but they kill races.

posted by NeilG83 [225 posts]
12th October 2012 - 19:42

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BTW, if anything I have just written is wrong please correct me. I was awful at physics in school.

posted by NeilG83 [225 posts]
12th October 2012 - 19:45

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NeilG83-

Yes, if you've got the basics (weight/time/height climbed, etc) you'd have thought you could get a pretty good idea. So I don't really understand why all the secrecy surrounding the power output figures. Are they that fine-tuned? Are the top riders within 4 or 5 watts of each other?

posted by ElCynico [15 posts]
14th October 2012 - 3:44

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