Team Sky welcomes possible new cycling governing body investigation

Chris Froome came to the defence of under-fire Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford

UCI President David Lappartient has called for the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, an independent arm of the UCI, to open an investigation into the medical practices at Team Sky more than half a decade ago.

It added that the widespread therapeutic use exemption (TUE) system was open to abuse.

"[Sky] had, at the time, the TUE agreement. There is a big gap between what he said in the beginning and what we have learned, step by step".

Lappartient said that it was unlikely that the Froome case would be resolved before the Giro d'Italia in May, which Froome is intending to ride as Team Sky's leader.

Ford, one of Team Sky's main sponsors, said: 'We remain committed to our support of Team Sky but we do not comment on their sporting matters, especially matters that occurred before our sponsorship started'.

Wiggins, 37, denied that he and Team Sky had crossed an ethical line by using the medication.

Team Sky has accused the committee of presenting "unsubstantiated allegations" which it says is "fundamentally unfair to the team and its riders".

TUEs allow the use of otherwise banned substances to treat medical conditions.

But Lappartient said the UCI will launch its own investigation, and made clear that he considers any misuse of TUEs as breaking the rules. "I wouldn't have stayed so long, I wouldn't still be in the team, if I didn't believe in the team and the people around me".

Brailsford and Team Sky have come under immense pressure after a parliamentary report
Brailsford and Team Sky have come under immense pressure after a parliamentary report

Realising his error after an ad break, Phillip quickly apologised for the mix-up, quipping: "Sorry, I think I mixed up Sir Bradley Wiggins and Bradley Walsh earlier", as co-host Holly Willoughby laughed next to him.

In an interview with the BBC, Lappartient noted the report and suggested that the CADF should look into its findings. They have the power of investigation. "I would like them to do this, to see if there is some violation of anti-doping rules", he said. It doesn't matter how much you put the truth in front of their face it makes no difference.

Landis, 42, believes the sponsors will walk away from Team Sky in the wake of this latest crisis. Is it just using the rules?

Lappartient acknowledged that Team Sky acted within the rules to obtain the TUEs, but criticized the team for its practices nonetheless and anxious that the case would damage the sport's credibility.

"I've never seen anything like that.It's not my experience within the team that that's how the team operates,"he said".

"With particular reference to Team Sky's preparations for the 2012 season, Bradley Wiggins and a smaller group of riders trained separately from the rest of the team", according to the report. "He has to take the decision he needs to take, and I see the pressure", Lappartient said.

The Australian, however, says others still have questions to answer. "That would be a disaster for the image of cycling", Lappartient said.

Lappartient repeated his call for a quick resolution to the salbutamol case of Chris Froome, which remains in limbo.

Although Froome turned up with a level of the asthma drug salbutamol double the legal limit en route to winning the Vuelta a Espana almost six months ago, his case is yet to be resolved.

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