There’s nothing unusual about professional cycling teams meeting with race organisers or sporting authorities, in fact it’s a regular occurrence for teams vying for wildcard places and WorldTour licences. It’s just rarely publicised.
However when a blog on Skysports let slip that the British team of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish had made a presentation to ASO ahead of this year’s Tour de France, it raised eyebrows – especially when the blog mentioned that part of the presentation was to ensure they ‘won't get any nasty surprises’.
Why would Team Sky need to justify their performances this season and why should they choose to present Bradley Wiggins’ power details and training data ahead of race he’d yet to start? In the subsequent 24 hours social media has been ablaze with innuendo and rumour, cultivating all from Sky’s success but also from the thickened air of suspicion cast by USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong and a motley crew of doctors. It was even alleged that Sky had made a donation to ASO for drug testing, a somewhat odd rumour considering ASO have never carried out a single drug test.
“We do it every year, and we actually meet with ASO twice a year. We started doing that in 2009 before we were really a team and we presented the five-year programme to them. We showed them what we wanted to do in terms of changing the face of the sport within the UK and then also showed them how the track programme had come about - our no stone unturned philosophy,” Sky’s spokesperson told Cyclingnews.
“We present everything on Sky Ride, our internal engagement, and then we also present where we are with performance and where we are from a coaching stance and the structure of the team.
“We used Brad as a case study because he’s a lead rider and won the Dauphine so we took them through all the work that we do with Tim Kerrison, Shane Sutton and with Brad. We weren’t called in and we didn’t call them and say ‘we want to prove Brad’s clean’.”
Team Sky is well aware that with success comes suspicion, and with a highly successful 2012 campaign levels of both are abundantly high.
“We felt it’s our job to be transparent and tell people what we’re doing, and the more we can tell people the less mystery there is. We’re not doing it to try and convince them we’re clean, we are clean. We’re meeting them because we’re genuinely proud of the work we doing and they enjoyed what we had to show them," their spokesperson explained.
“On the record, I can categorically and 100 percent deny that Team Sky has ever made any form of donation to any organisation involved with the running of the sport, nor would we ever do so.”