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Team Sky and the UCI have had their issues recently, and Sky General Manager Dave Brailsford let the world know how he felt about the head of the governing body when he gave a scathing review of president David Lappartient in a candid interview with The Guardian over the weekend.
“I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he started,” said Brailsford when speaking about the UCI president, who was elected mere days after Froome returned a test that revealed elevated levels of Salbutamol during the 2017 Vuelta a España. “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.”
Lappartient is, in fact, the mayor of Sarzeau, the Breton town set to host the finish of the fourth stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.
Tensions between the two figures flared due to the UCI investigation of Chris Froome’s adverse analytical finding and the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) report conducted by the British government to combat doping in sports. Following the DCMS report, Lappartient called for Team Sky to be investigated “to see if there is some violation of anti-doping rules” after British lawmakers accused the outfit of “crossing an ethical line.”
Lappartient has also been vocal in his belief that Chris Froome had access to superior legal support due to financial means since the four-time Tour de France champion was cleared of wrongdoing by WADA and the UCI.
“Froome had more financial support to find good experts,” said Lappartient. When speaking to the Guardian on Saturday the Frenchman reiterated that view saying, “It’s not just in cycling, that’s global justice. That’s democracy, you can’t prevent somebody from spending money on legal defense by capping it.”
Brailsford took issue with these comments and felt Lappartient was taking a nationalistic view of the situation instead of fulfilling his duties as the president of an impartial international governing.
“Justice is justice and whether you are in the smallest team in the professional peloton or the biggest one, the justice and the rules that apply to you should be the same and fair. There should be no issue whatsoever there.
“If you want to be the president of an international federation then protect everybody in that international community,” Brailsford said. “Don’t take a French angle or a nationalistic view on the international community. Protect the international community with no bias.
“And I think he is still learning that really. The quicker he can get there, and learn what a president of an international federation’s responsibilities are, the better it will be for everybody. But he has got some work to do.”