UCI President David Lappartient has hit back at comments from Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford, saying that the last person to characterise him as a 'Breton mayor' did not enjoy much luck afterwards. He added that, by insulting him as a local mayor, Brailsford was also insulting the 35,000 French mayors.
The comments come just over a week after Chris Froome was cleared by the UCI of any wrongdoing in his salbutamol case. During the nine-month investigation, Lappartient was quite vocal in the press saying that the Team Sky rider should sit out of racing until the case was closed. On Sunday, speaking outside the Team Sky bus, Brailsford criticised Lappartient for what he deemed a nationalistic bias and said that the Frenchman needed to learn his responsibilities before saying he has a 'local French mayor mentality'.
"I do not really want to answer him, but I will say that the last one who called me a 'Breton mayor' was not brought any luck. It was Brian Cookson," Lappartient told Le Parisien, referring to his victory over Cookson at last year's UCI elections. "And then, by insulting me as mayor, he insults the 35,000 French mayors and the French in general. I do not know what he's looking for with that.
"Because he does not realise that it takes mayors taking stages of the Tour de France for such great events to take place. He does not understand much about cycling. When you are arrogant, one day or another, there is always something that brings you back to humility."
As well as running the UCI, Lappartient has maintained his role as the mayor of Sarzeau, where stage 4 of this year's Tour de France finishes. He was present at the start of the stage in La Baule and will also make an appearance at the finish, where his two worlds will meet.
"To be honest, it's not always easy. I am, on average, over 85 hours a week," Lappartient said of balancing his two jobs. "Physically, it's a little hard, but I'm not complaining because I wanted it. But this Tuesday it looks a little unusual. For some, I will be the mayor, for others the president of the UCI. There'll be a few handshakes," he said.