Dave Brailsford launches scathing attack on UCI president David Lappartient
Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford has criticised UCI president David Lappartient, suggesting he still has mentality of a local French mayor who is struggling to get a handle on his responsibilities
Brailsford has been left frustrated by Lappartient’s handling of the anti-doping investigation into Sky’s Chris Froome, which was closed on Monday with the four-time Tour winner cleared of any wrong-doing after he returned a test containing high levels of Salbutamol at La Vuelta last year.
Lappartient was among those who said Froome, whose case should have remained confidential unless an anti-doping charge was brought, should not race after the news was leaked in December.
And since the case was closed on Monday, the Frenchman has contradicted his own organisation’s statement on whether or not more information on the case might be released, and suggested to BBC Sport that Sky were able to successfully defend Froome because they have a bigger budget than other teams.
That left Brailsford to wonder if the 45-year-old Lappartient, the former mayor of Sarzeau in Brittany, understood his job properly.
“I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he started,” Brailsford said. “He’s new to the job and he obviously doesn’t quite understand the responsibilities of a presidential role. I think he’s still got the kind of local french mayor kind of mentality maybe.”
Lappartient told the BBC he would be happy to provide more details on Froome’s now closed Salbutamol case, but needed the permission of the four-time Tour winner to publish the information.
But he said that just hours after a lengthy UCI statement said there were “important reasons” the World Anti-Doping Agency did not release such information, not least that it might be used by others to beat the system.
“It would be better if he was clearer,” Brailsford said. “He’s contradicted himself a few times in some of the things he’s saying. One minute it’s we [the UCI] can release stuff and the next minute we can’t.”
Brailsford has repeatedly said it is up to the UCI and WADA to publish further information on the case as it was their decision to explain.
Lappartient’s comments about Team Sky’s budget risked stirring up sentiment against the team amongst French crowds, who have already shown their hostility towards Froome this week, despite him being cleared of wrong-doing.
“If you want to be the president of an international federation, protect everyone in that community,” Brailsford said. “Don’t take the French angle, or a nationalistic view. Protect the international community with no bias.
“And I think he’s still learning that really. And the quicker he can get there and learn what the president of an international federation’s responsibilities are the better it will be for everybody. But he’s got some work to do.”
Brailsford rejected the premise of Lappartient’s comments regarding Sky’s budget, saying their investment in the sport should be welcomed.
“If I were in charge of the UCI I’d want major international sponsors to come from other sports to this one,” he said. “I’d by trying to attract the big guys, not criticising them for their resources – you should be getting more resources into the sport.
“And if that resource enables you to refine or test some of the regulations where riders who haven’t got the funds have a false positive, if that were me I’d be saying, ‘Thanks very much for that investment, because I think we can use this and keep on developing everything to make our rules better’.
“And if we’re looking to protect innocent riders then we don’t want false positive. And if someone can help support that, then well done. I wouldn’t be taking the angle that there is one rule for one and one rule for another.”