Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has broken his silence on embattled Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford, insisting the all-conquering British outfit would not survive without its figurehead.
Froome was conspicuous by his absence last week as several Team Sky riders, including Geraint Thomas, tweeted their support for the under-fire Brailsford amid a probe into whether they broke anti-doping rules.
Team Sky continues to be the subject of parliamentary scrutiny and a UK Anti-Doping Agency investigation over a mystery package sent to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. Brailsford has said he will not resign over the incident.
Froome, 31, stopped short of explicitly stating his support for Brailsford, but credited him with playing a major part in his achievements since the pair united at Team Sky in 2010.
“With respect to Dave Brailsford, he has created one of the best sports teams in the world. Without Dave B, there is no Team Sky,” said Froome.
“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.”
Brailsford has conceded that mistakes were made in relation to testing practices but has denied that any anti-doping rules were broken in respect of the package sent to Wiggins. Team Sky assert the package contained a legal medicine.
“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,” added Froome.
“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.”