Early this week Cyclingnews reported that riders within the team had discussed whether to approach Brailsford and ask him to step down. The former Performance Director of British Cycling is at the centre of a UKAD investigation surrounding the contents of a medical package used to treat Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Dauphine.
An anonymous Team Sky rider told Cyclingnews that "there is a concern over the impact that this may have on the current season and the distraction it is all causing for Dave Brailsford and the other management."
Deignan has been on Team Sky since 2014, and as he warmed up on the rollers before his time trial at Paris-Nice, he agreed to talk about the situation.
"To be honest, I was pretty surprised to see your article saying that some riders wanted to get rid of Dave because the atmosphere in the team is still really good. The morale is really good and it's remained unchanged," Deignan told Cyclingnews.
"Dave is the guy we want in the job. It was strange to see that story a few days ago about riders looking to get him out. It's absolutely not true from the guys we've spoken to here [ed. at Paris-Nice] and the rest of the team. It's not true really. The mast majority of the riders, all the riders, are genuinely behind Dave."
After the publication of the original story, a flurry of Team Sky riders Tweeted their support for Brailsford, with the majority stating that they were '100 per cent' behind the team boss. Deignan wasn't one of the riders to do so – he's only used the social media platform once in the last few months – and he denied reports that Team Sky riders were asked by the team to show public support for Brailsford to keep the team from folding.
"No, not at all. We were quite frustrated with what we saw, and it didn't express our feelings," Deignan said. "I think the riders were angered when we saw that. It didn't really express the feelings of the vast majority, if not all the riders."
The most notable Team Sky rider to refrain from the public display of support for Brailsford was Chris Froome. Reports in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail claim that Team Sky wanted to release a statement of support from all of the riders but that Froome refused to put his name to it.
When asked about his team leader's apparent lack of support for Brailsford, the Irishman responded: "I don't know. Froome is entitled to his own opinion, and I've no say in that. That's up to him."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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