Sir Dave Brailsford is no stranger to awkward questions at Tour de France press conferences – he fielded plenty last year about claims that Chris Froome’s race-winning performance was artificially enhanced – but a question this morning about the vacancy for the England football manager’s job caught him off-guard.
With Roy Hodgson resigning in the wake of England’s defeat to Iceland on Monday, there’s been a lot of speculation over his successor and this morning Orla Chennoui of Sky Sports News asked the Team Sky boss Brailsford, “Has anyone in the England camp actually asked for your advice?”
Following a fit of spluttering and a bit of wriggling, Brailsford replied, “Next question,” before breaking into a smile – as did Chris Froome, sitting to his left.
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) June 30, 2016
It’s perhaps a bit of a stretch to link Brailsford with the manager’s job itself, but as the man who masterminded Team GB’s stunning performances in cycling at the last two Olympic Games, and who is looking to lead Sky to its fourth overall Tour de France win in five years, he is regularly sought out by figures in football looking to learn from his success.
Both Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini met with him when they were managing, respectively, Manchester United and Manchester City, and before the FIFA World Cup in Brazil two years ago he gave the England squad a motivational talk at Hodgson’s request.
Brailsford himself told a conference in London in 2013 that moving into football was “something I would look at.”
While England may be out of the tournament, there will be a lot of interest in the Sky squad over tomorrow's quarter final, where Wales take on Belgium – not least from Brailsford, who was born in Deryshire but grew up in North Wales and is a Welsh speaker.
Geraint Thomas, who will be riding the Tour on a Pinarello with a custom dragon motif, and Luke Rowe are both Cardiff born and bred, while Chris Froome has a Welsh grandmother and his wife, Michelle, was born in Neath.
With Wales playing in red tomorrow evening, their opponents' change strip will be familiar to cycling fans, too - it's mirrors the Belgian national colours worn to world championship glory by the likes of Eddy Merckx and Tom Boonen.
— Mousa Dembélé (@mousadembele) 27 June 2016
Sadly, the footballers weren’t wearing them when off on a bike ride earlier this week.
— BelgianRedDevils (@BelRedDevils) 27 June 2016
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.