All the riders in this year’s thrilling Tour de France took their second rest day on Monday. Without a stage to race, it’s was left to Team Sky boss David Brailsford to provide all the drama and fireworks.
In what you could only call a shocking display of anger and hostility, Brailsford singled out cycligneews.com senior writer and Tour veteran Barry Ryan for abuse. He refused to let Ryan participate in the team’s media event, shouting “You’re not invited. We have invited the people we want to speak to. You’ve been writing shit about me.”
Brailsford had taken issue with a story Ryan had written on the eve of the grand depart entitled Strong and Stable? Dave Brailsford’s year of saying nothing. It chronicled in some detail the on-going investigations into Teak Sky about UK Anti-Doping and Brailsford’s role in that mess.
It was a flat-out rant. When Ryan asked if there were any inaccuracies in that reporting, Brailsford lashed out again.: “I’m not getting into that. It was opinion, you write shit.”
We won’t’ recap the entire conversation but the final kicker was Brailsford telling Ryan “You can stick it up your arse.”
Rest Day, indeed. It reminded me of the press intimidation by Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at the height of their U.S. Postal powers. Brailsford just took the sport of cycling back into the dark era of twenty years ago. Quite an ironic turnabout who a man who trumpeted Sky’s clean approach to cycling and 100% transparency. How the mighty and perhaps cynical have fallen.
It was a performance that brought to mind the relentless attacks on journalism by President Trump. A relentless barrage against anyone who asked a fair question and wanted a factual answer. His attitude almost sounded like a strong of Trump tweets – defiant, dismissive and nasty. All he needed was a Trump wig and to throw in a few shouts of FAKE CYCLINGNEWS. NOBODY READS FAILING CN, WORST WRITING EVER. SAD!!!!!
Equally sad – and compounding the ugliness — was that Team Sky Team Sky refused to make an official comment on the incident. There was no backtracking or later apologies from Brailsford. In fact, why wouldn’t A.S.O and the UCI condemn this intimidation of cyclingnews journalists covering the biggest event on the calendar.
We’ve felt it was time for Brailsford to step down based on the rotten culture at British Cycling and the inexcusable sloppiness and cover-ups on the subject of Bradley Wiggins mysterious jiffy bag.
As journalist Joe Lindsey put it on twitter: “Brailsford’s takeaway from (still active) UKAD inquiry seems to be that he’s invincible, thus entitled to be the worst version of himself.”
Where’s the race jury that throws Dave Brailsford out of the Tour de France?