Froome backs Brailsford? No Sir!

Journalists don’t write the headlines. The articles are written, submitted and left in the hands of a sub-editor. Sometimes, a sub-editor can simply be clumsy and end up making the journalist seem a bit foolish. I recall an article I once wrote for previewing an early-season race with a subheading of ‘Cillian Kelly pulls on the latex togs and freewheels through the week’s cycling action’. A slightly shinier look than I would have been hoping for but no reason to get my latex knickers in a twist.

Other times the sub-editor can get the wrong end of the stick completely and accidentally misrepresent what the entire article was about. In these cases, you would imagine that the journalist would quickly make contact to request that any misleading headline be changed. But evidently this doesn’t happen as much as it should.

A cursory glance at the headlines of various websites over the last couple of days and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Chris Froome had released a statement telling us that he was backing Dave Brailsford as the right man to continue to lead Team Sky. Froome did release a statement but it contained nothing to suggest that he backs Brailsford.

Here’s a sample of the articles covering the statement released by Froome on Monday 13th March.

Froome Backs Brailsford

These headlines are all misrepresentative. Froome was actually saying the complete opposite. He wasn’t backing Brailsford at all.

Here’s the Froome statement in full with my emphasis added:

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.

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.

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.


Froome feels ‘let down’ by the way Brailsford has handled this situation and he actually apologises on his behalf. He says he believes in the people around him. It would have been simple to write here ‘I believe in Dave Brailsford’, but that’s not what Froome chose to write. He was deliberately ambiguous which gives us an indication that he actually does not believe in Brailsford.

The line that many of those articles picked up on as evidence for Froome’s backing is ‘without Dave B, there is no Team Sky‘. This is more a statement of fact rather than any tacit indication of support. It has long been rumoured that if Brailsford were to resign that Sky would back out from sponsoring the team, which would likely lead to the team folding.

The only explicit mention in the statement of anybody backing or supporting anyone else is Froome telling us that Brailsford has supported him for the last seven years.

If Froome really did back Brailsford, a 140 character Tweet to that affect would have been more than sufficient to relay that message – just as 16 of his team-mates had done. Instead he has given us 208 carefully crafted words designed to take the heat off of himself so that when asked about this issue in person, he can point at this statement and tell us that he has responded to this matter already.

But it is obvious to me that Froome does not back, support or believe in Brailsford. Whatever relationship existed between the two men is now over.



  1. Chris - March 16, 2017 @ 11:40 am

    On whole I agree with you, apart from the last paragraph. I wouldn’t be surprised if Froome leaves Sky at the end of the year, regardless of contract, but at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays. He may have distanced himself, but he hasn’t cut the ties as yet.

  2. Irish Peloton - March 16, 2017 @ 2:27 pm

    I think for a long time, Froome has tended to largely do his own thing despite being part of Team Sky. For instance, remember the testing he underwent after the 2015 Tour? He did that of his own volition – the team were not on board.

    Managers and their staff can certainly be productive without necessarily getting on personally (or even seeing eye to eye professionally). So it would be in spite of Brailsford that Froome stays, not because of him some of as these headlines would suggest.

    I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Froome leaves Sky either.

  3. Peter Johnston - March 16, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

    Here we go again…. It’s the old you’re either with us or against us nonsense. My understanding is that C F recognizes the achievement of D B with Sky and is grateful for that fantastic success, however he is critical of how this was handled and apologizes on behalf of the team of which he is a leader. A sentiment that D B concurs with and has apologized for. Today everyone seems to be fixated on this either or nonsense. Life is not like that and human relations are complex and nuanced and to simplify said relations to such a degree is most unhelpful and very counter productive. Give people a break, we all make mistakes and this is a black mark that D B will carry for the rest of his life but there is no evidence of wrong doing and to convict a person on unsupported assumptions is wrong. The UCI wrote the rules so maybe they should be getting some heat… As far a si can see Sky followed these rules whether they be right or wrong which they were entitled to do…

  4. Bahamontes Cornholio - March 16, 2017 @ 8:04 pm

    CF on the phone to Doug Ryder as I type this…

  5. Irish Peloton - March 16, 2017 @ 9:35 pm

    You seem to be arguing against a point that I haven’t made. I didn’t mention whether what Sky or Brailsford had done is ethical or breaking rules or otherwise. That’s an entirely separate issue.

    The main point of this is that Froome and Brailsford no longer have a working relationship and I think it’s a point that was missed by all of those media outlets.

  6. Irish Peloton - March 16, 2017 @ 9:36 pm

    You’re not the first person who’s suggested that. Would seem to fit quite well. Would they have the money though?

  7. Peter Johnston - March 16, 2017 @ 10:26 pm

    That is once again an assumption, a mistake that can ruin careers and lives unnecessarily, prevents reconciliation and forgiveness. Your assumption may be proved correct, but let’s wait and see.
    One Love, Peter.

  8. David - March 16, 2017 @ 11:46 pm

    I can’t believe you misrepresented Froome’s statement after railing against misleading headlines. Froome’s statement:
    “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.”
    Your statement:
    “Froome feels ‘let down’ by the way Brailsford has handled this situation and he actually apologises on his behalf. ”
    Understanding why people feel a certain way does not mean you have the same feelings. And just because you have an opinion on how Froome feels doesn’t mean Froome feels that way.

  9. Irish Peloton - March 17, 2017 @ 12:15 am

    Yeah, fair point. Is that ironic? I’m never sure.

    And of course I realise that just because I think something doesn’t make it true. But do you think Froome doesn’t feel let down?

    The whole piece is a postulation based on Froome not explicitly saying what he means. And I’ve read between the lines. I could be wrong but I really don’t think so. Happy to let time tell.

  10. David - March 17, 2017 @ 7:51 am

    I have the same opinion and think Froome feels let down. But I haven’t been through everything Froome has while on Team Sky.

  11. Ian M - March 17, 2017 @ 8:38 am

    CF apologises on behalf of himself and the other riders! Clearly in the statement. Just one of a number of flagrant misrepresentations in your article. You criticise the rest of the media for misrepresentation and then compound it yourself. Pot, kettle, injecting gutter journalism!

  12. Ian M - March 17, 2017 @ 8:42 am

    In an answer above you say “The whole piece is a postulation based on Froome not explicitly saying what he means”. How do you know he didn’t​ say what he meant? Perhaps what is in the statement is exactly what he meant. Have you interviewed him on the subject?

  13. Irish Peloton - March 17, 2017 @ 8:50 am

    If Froome wanted to ‘back’ Brailsford or if he thought Brailsford was the right man to lead Team Sky this year and every other year, then he would have said that. It’s easy to say. You just say it.

    Also, I take that back about Froome not saying what he means. He said exactly what he meant.

  14. Carlos Alberto Posada Hernández - March 20, 2017 @ 5:47 pm

    Professional cycling is just business. A well build, trained, instructed, followed and fed person does not perform the way professional cyclists do. Competitive sport is never clean, not even golf nor chess.

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