Sir Dave Brailsford says he does not accept that people have lost faith in Team Sky in the wake of UK Anti-Doping’s (Ukad) investigation. However, the Team Sky principal also somewhat contradictorily admitted that, “there might be a PR issue.”
This would appear to be something of an understatement. Some of the evidence Brailsford supplied to the select committee for culture, media and sport was branded ‘extraordinary’ and ‘very disappointing’ by Ukad chairman David Kenworthy, while the chair of the committee has expressed frustration at the lack of a paper trail relating to the contents of the package delivered to the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.
Speaking to the BBC during a tense interview likely to provide ample source material for armchair body language experts (we challenge you to watch the whole thing without getting distracted by his elaborate hand gestures), Brailsford said it was ‘regrettable’ that issues had cast a cloud over the team’s achievements.
He added that, “the test of time is the key thing and over time we will continue to perform at the highest level, continue to do it the right way, continue to give people a reason to get behind us and feel proud of our achievements.”
Assessing the impact of the furore, he said: “There’s a difference between handling and active wrongdoing, you know. Let’s be clear. There might be a PR issue and there’s the actual facts of any wrongdoing. What we’re doing is contributing to a process that can get to the truth.”
Some would say the team’s PR shortcomings hinge on an ability to provide clear answers to certain key questions. Asked whether he’d provided paperwork supporting his claims that it was Fluimucil that was in the infamous package, Brailsford offered only: “I’ve given everything I’ve got to UK Anti Doping.”
Responding to a suggestion that fans would be reassured to know that paperwork did exist, he replied: “We’re contributing everything we’ve got to the process,” before reiterating that he wasn’t going to comment on specifics until after the outcome of the Ukad investigation.