British cyclist Chris Froome has expressed regret over the manner in which Team Sky has approached questions over their record on doping.
However, the three-time Tour de France champion also was highly critical of the media who, ha claims have portrayed the team unfairly in recent months.
Froome sided with under-fire boss Sir Dave Brailsford, who is being investigated by the UK Anti-Doping for a ‘mystery package’ sent for former rider Sir Bradley Wiggins at a race in 2011.
Brailsford disclosed last week that he would not be resigning over the package issue, although Team Sky accepted that they were at fault regarding the medical records of the package - but denied violating anti-doping rules.
The legendary coach admitted that he was informed the package contained a legal decongestant – Fluimucil – yet reports are still to be provided from the team backing the statement.
Froome's statement read, per BBC Sport:
“It disappoints me hugely to see the way in which Team Sky has been portrayed by the media recently. It does not reflect the support crew and the riders that I see around me.
“At the same time, I completely understand why people feel let down by the way in which the situation has been handled, and going forward we need to do better.
“I would like to apologise for this on behalf of myself and the other riders of Team Sky who feel passionately about our sport and winning clean. I believe in the people around me, and what we are doing."
Standing by Brailsford
He reiterated his support for the beleaguered boss and admitted there would actually be no team in place if the 52-year-old coach was not a part of it.
“With respect to Dave Brailsford, he has created one of the best sports teams in the world," he added. Without Dave B, there is no Team Sky.
"Without Dave B, there is no Team Sky.
“He has supported me throughout the last seven years of my career and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunities and the experiences I've had. By his own admission, mistakes have been made, but protocols have been put in place to ensure that those same mistakes will not be made again.
“I know it will take time for faith to be restored, but I will do my utmost to ensure that happens, along with everyone else at Team Sky.”
The 31-year-old is backing the principal, but he's being very qualified and retstricted to his team-mates, several of whom have come out in full support of Brailsford.
A parliamentary select committee into anti-doping is hearing evidence about the package in question, while committee chairman Damian Collins MP asserted that Team Sky’s reputation has taken a massive hit due to the controversy.
Dr. Richard Freeman, who received the package at the Criterium du Dauphine, was unable to attend the last hearing citing health issues.
Therapeutic use exemptions, or TUEs, allow athletes to take banned substances when there is a clear medical need, with Wiggins’ use in the spotlight.
He was granted a TUE before the 2011 Tour de France, 2012 Tour win and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
British authorities approved the usage of TUEs for the Englishman during that period but no evidence has come to the forefront confirming breaking any rules and regulations.
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