Fran Millar says Team Sky hasn’t done a good job of demonstrating that it has been doing things in the right way. However, speaking to Sport magazine, the team’s director of business operations added that its efforts couldn’t extend to full transparency, arguing that this is simply not possible when operating in a competitive environment.
“We can’t be completely transparent, because we want to win,” she said. “We can’t share all our training techniques, we can’t share how we do everything. This whole idea that sports teams need to be completely transparent – it’s an absolute facade anyway, because you can’t do that.
“What you have to do is be honest. You have to build trust. People have to believe in you. And you have to demonstrate that you are doing it in the right way. And we potentially haven’t done a good enough job of that. And if people have lost trust in us because of this, then we have a job to do to win that back.”
Sir Dave Brailsford recently responded to the UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) investigation into the contents of the Jiffy bag delivered to the Team Sky bus on the final day of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine and the ongoing concern about Sir Bradley Wiggins’ use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) by claiming that Team Sky can be trusted “100 per cent”.
However, Millar acknowledges that when it comes to trust, actions speak louder than words.
“I actually think, way prior to the Fancy Bears stuff, we weren’t winning that war anyway. People very quickly forget that the Lance Armstrong reasoned decision was in 2012. That isn’t a lifetime ago.
“So in the space of four years, people aren’t suddenly going to be like: ‘This team’s dominant, they’ve won the Tour in four of the past five years, I believe them completely.’ Of course they’re not. And they shouldn’t. And we should be interrogated, and we should be questioned. But we should also be robust enough, and prepared to demonstrate we are doing it in the right way, and to take that on the chin.”
Millar believes that it is important to continue holding press conferences when the team is being questioned, because “it’s professional and it’s the right thing to do,” but adds that it is all but impossible to halt the storm of an ongoing controversy.
She goes on to contrast the current situation with her brother David’s drugs ban – “a genuine scandal where there had been wrongdoing” – and says the team has done the right thing by going to Ukad. “It’s a really uncomfortable process. But it’s the right process.”
Her position, it seems, is that the situation has been poorly-handled but the team is honest.
“I believe in this team and in what we’re doing. I genuinely don’t believe there has been wrongdoing. And, as Dave [Brailsford] said: if there has been, fucking throw them to the wolves. I have no problem with that. But I don’t believe there was. I don’t believe it has been handled very well, by anyone. But I’ll defend it until I’m blue in the face.”