London, Oct 10, 2016 (AFP) – Team Sky received some welcome news on Monday amidst the negative headlines regarding their former star Bradley Wiggins with the unequivocal support from its main sponsor, media heavyweights Sky.
Graham McWilliam, deputy head of Sky News and chairman of the Team Sky board, tweeted he had sent a message of support to the team over the weekend telling them to stay focussed on the important things such as winning.
The team has been subjected to negative headlines for obtaining for British cycling great Wiggins a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) from cycling authorities for the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone to combat his asthma.
Wiggins was permitted to take it just days before the 2012 Tour de France, which he won, as well as the 2011 Tour and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
He and Team Sky are also reportedly at the center of an inquiry by United Kingdom Anti-Doping.
The Daily Mail claimed last week UKAD wanted to question him and his Team Sky bosses over a medical package delivered to the British outfit ahead of the
2011 Tour de France.
However, McWilliam made no bones in his message that Sky were fully behind the team, which has won four of the past five Tour de France titles.
“With all the noise around Team Sky, I sent a message to the Team over the weekend to assure them of Sky’s support. Here’s what I said: ‘Keep your feet firmly on the ground and stay focused on what’s important. For Team Sky that’s racing and winning, the right way. That’s what we’ve done from the start and that’s what we’ll continue to do in future. I can assure you of Sky’s full and continued support. There is no equivocation on our part. We trust you, we believe in you and we remain as excited about this sport as ever.'”
However, Team Sky cyclist Nicolas Roche, son of Stephen who is the last rider to achieve the Tour de France and Giro double back in 1987, criticized the decision by Team Sky to apply for the TUE, although he added it was more that the rules allowed them that angered him.
“Like I said already on my Twitter a few weeks ago, when WADA was hacked the first time and before the Wiggins story, there is a major problem with TUEs,” Roche told cyclingnews.com.
“There is a problem with the actual system. Again, you can do whatever you want against Wiggins, but unfortunately, as far as ethically it’s wrong, he is within the rules.
“It is wrong that these rules are like that. That’s where the main problem is.
“Once we get those rules right, there won’t be any abuse, but that’s the priority,” added the 32-year-old Irishman, who is to ride for BMC Racing next season.