Chris Froome: I've never been offered triamcinolone at Team Sky

Defending Tour de France champion focused on July, not UK Anti-Doping inquiry

In an interview with The Guardian's William Fotheringham, Chris Froome categorically stated that he has never been offered the corticosteroid triamcinolone during his time at Team Sky.

"I can only speak about my experiences in the team at the time. I certainly haven't been offered triamcinolone in the team," Froome told The Guardian, adding “I haven't, no", when asked if he had had any injections of triamcinolone.

During UK Anti-Doping's investigation into Team Sky and British Cycling, it was revealed the British team ordered 55 doses of the corticosteroid triamcinolone between 2010 and 2013. 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins received three injections of triamcinolone in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with all three covered by UCI approved therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) to combat pollen allergies. Some others were given to staff emembers, including team manager Dave Brailsford but most have still to be accounted for.

The investigation into Team Sky and British Cycling stem from the delivery of a Jiffy bag to Team Sky's then doctor Richard Freeman at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. Team Sky's principal Dave Brailsford suggested the mysterious 'jiffy bag' package contained the legal drug Fluimucil when questioned by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in December last year.

In early-2017, Freeman told the Culture, Media and Sport select committee that coaches and performance directors were involved in the decision to treat riders with Triamcinolone.

When asked what he made when Team Sky's purchase of triamcinolone was made public, Froome said he has given it little thought with his focus on winning a fourth Tour title.

"Honestly I haven't given it much thought. It's not something I've gone and done my own investigation on. I've been so focused on trying to get ready for July and I think the investigation has been happening in the background. I've been happy to let it be, let the professionals deal with that. My focus has been on July and getting ready for that," said Froome, adding "I can only speak about my experience in the team. It hasn't been my experience that triamcinolone has been handed around freely as has been suggested."

During the interview with The Guardian, it was put to Froome that was 'surprising for him to say the affair had not affected him.'

"I can't really comment on who's had what injuries or illness along the way. I don't know those details," Froome responded. "Those aren't something I can account for myself – it hasn't been something I've got involved in.”

Backing Brailsford despite previous disagreements

Despite calls from some Team Sky riders for Brailsford to resign following the revelations and the UK Anti-Doping investigation, Froome expressed his backing for his team manager. Despite disagreements that the two may have had in the past.

"Dave has created this team and it is where it is as a result of that. It has been successful as a result of his leadership," he said.

"If I look at my experiences with Dave and the team, I don't have any questions in that respect. I've had a successful relationship with Dave and the team that's led to three Tour victories for me and the team. I'm not questioning that relationship. It's a good working relationship.

"I think it's also safe to say that sometimes Dave and I don't agree on absolutely everything. That's only natural. When you have a team of 100 guys you are not going to agree with everyone about everything. It's an opportunity to challenge each other, to improve and work better in a lot of different ways."

In recent years at the Tour de France, Team Sky have faced roadside criticism with some fans venting their anger towards the team. Asked if the investigations into Team Sky will affect his performance at the Tour de France, Froome stated that is simply focuxed on racing his bike and winning his third straight yellow jersey.

"I will be asked questions about it in the same way that you are asking me now. It's so far from where my focus has been that it's not something that rates highly on my agenda right now," he said.

"I know there is an investigation and I would like to think that they are doing everything possible to get to the bottom of it but in terms of my focus and the rest of us out on the road, we've got a bike race to worry about." 

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