Dave Brailsford calls for action on Astana doping

Chris Froome says last year’s painful Tour exit has made him more determined than ever to regain the yellow jersey

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The Independent Online

The spectre of doping overshadowed Team Sky’s big media day in Majorca yesterday, with Sir Dave Brailsford taking a swipe at the sport’s governing body over its inaction on the issue.

Sky’s team principal was angered by the fact that the International Cycling Union (UCI) had given Astana  – the team of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali – a licence to race despite a number of positive tests.

“The UCI governs this sport, so they need to deliver,” said Brailsford, who previously worked with the governing body’s president Brian Cookson when the latter was in charge of British Cycling.

 “Great leaders don’t find excuses why they can’t do something. Sometimes you’ve got to get over obstacles and find ways of doing things to get to a new place.”

Cookson took charge of the UCI in 2013 and at the time many thought that he would lead the sport away from its troubled past. However, Team Sky rider and 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome yesterday agreed with his principal and claimed that the UCI needed to take stronger action against teams where there had been a number of positive tests. “This sport has a lot of headway still to make, and the UCI are the ones to guide that,” Froome said.

Away from the controversy, Brailsford outlined his vision for Team Sky riders to cement their place as “indisputably the best cycling team in the world” by 2020.

Team Sky was launched in 2009 and within three years had their first Tour de France winner (Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012), with Froome following him to the top of the Paris podium a year later. However, Brailsford is now looking to the next five years and is adamant things can get even better.

“Where we want to be in 2020 is very simple – we want Team Sky to be indisputably the best cycling team in the world, and to be viewed as one of the very best sports teams in the world,” he said.

“We had a clear vision for our first five years – we wanted to win the Tour de France and we wanted to get a million people cycling. We did both. In fact we did it twice with the Tour de France. It was a terrific achievement but you don’t rest on your laurels, you look back and think actually, we actually could have done better.

“We’ve closed that chapter, we want to be even better than we were in the first five years and we’re hungrier  than ever.”

Meanwhile, Froome admitted that last year’s painful Tour exit had made him more determined than ever to regain the yellow jersey. The Briton was defending champion but was forced to pull out at stage five after his third crash in two days.

Froome said he is using disappointment as motivation to come back even stronger. “I don’t want to say it’s about making right for the last year but I definitely have an extra hunger because of what happened,” he said. “Going in as defending champion definitely adds a burden. There’s a pressure on you: you won last year so are you going to do it again? I don’t feel that this year.”