Team Sky’s David Brailsford has a lot to get off his angry chest.
Ever since his star rider Chris Froome beat the odds and was cleared of any wrong-doing related to overuse of an asmtha medication, Brailsford has been on the attack.
He dumped all over the UCI and its president David Lappartient, essentially calling him a country bumpkin. “I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he started,” said Brailsford “I thought, ‘OK, he is new to the job, he obviously doesn’t quite understand the responsibilities of a presidential role.’ I think he has still got the local French mayor kind of mentality.”
Then he dumped all over A.S.O., the organisers of the Tour de France, for failing to protect his riders from fan abuse. “This isn’t something new. This is just part of the Tour de France. We know that we’re going to get stick, that we’re going to get stick from the crowd and get abused. We know that there’s not much that can be done about it and that’s just part of winning. We’ll just keep focused. We’ve been here before and we’re experienced at it. We’ll smile and try and win it,” said Brailsford.
Then he dumped on French cycling fans in general, just to make sure he didn’t miss anyone. “It’s interesting. We raced in Italy and Chris’s case was open when we were at the Tour of Italy and the Italians were fantastic, to be fair to them. The Spanish, fantastic. It just seems to be a French thing,” Brailsford said. “It’s like a French cultural thing really, isn’t it?”
Brailform did everything possible to crap on France and its people except to actually punch somebody in the face. That task fell to Sky’s Italian hot-head Gianni Moscon, who smacked French rider Elie Gesbert (Team Fortuneo Samsic) in the head on stage 16 to Carcassonne.
French cycling fans have always been more critical of riders and teams they don’t think are clean. Given Sky’s numerous issues with lost medical files, Wiggins’ mystery jiffy bag, abuse of TUE’s, performance coach Shane Sutton’s damning remarks about taking advantage of ethical grey areas and Froome’s suprising acquittal despite several legal precedents, it’s no surprise the French distrust Sky. Throw in arrogance and lack of transparency and everyone can see why Sky isn’t the most popular team in Le Tour.
That’s zero excuse for holigans and drunks to spit on riders, throw things or attempt to push them off their bikes. Tour boss Christian Prudhomme has implored fans to respect all the riders. Top French hopeful Romain Bardet (AG2R) and top contender Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) have also been vocal in saying the bad behvious directed at Sky is unacceptable.
Still, it’s a sport that lives out on the open roads. Hard to control the actions of millions and millions of fans. Brailsford should know better that to dump all over everyone and they expect a warm welcome.