Sir David Brailsford, the head cycling coach and general manager of Team Sky, the British professional cycling team, believes the team’s computer systems may have been hacked by critics who are sifting through stolen data to accuse Tour De France competing cyclist, Chris Froome, of abusing performance enhancing drugs.
During Froome’s 2013 Tour De France championship, many critics repeatedly pestered Froome with questions regarding performance enhancing drugs and his thoughts on the use of them. Many even pointed fingers towards Froome for using them, but based all allegations on loosely-based, unverified statistics.
The 30-year-old Team Sky leader has always insisted he is a drug free rider and before this year’s race, he described critics interpreting the stolen data as doping “clowns”. Froome led this year’s Tour De France race by 12 seconds before Tuesday’s 10th stage, and Brailsford was asked if he was ready for the media to be put on repeat about what they said in 2013 regarding performance enhancing drugs.
“It’s part of the game, isn’t it? If he does well [on Tuesday], the rest of the Tour it’s ‘How do you know he’s not doping?’
“The question of how to prove a negative is always going to be a difficult one. We think someone has hacked into our training data and got Chris’s files, so we’ve got some legal guys on the case there.
“I would never mention a name [but]ethically and morally, if you are going to accuse someone of doping, then don’t cheat.”
Brailsford said: “I used to worry about it a lot more but I don’t any more. It’s part of the game. Just try to be honest, tell the truth, be open.”
Team Sky keeps a tight rope around rider data, which requires high-level security access, however stolen information could be easily skewed and does not account for all player variables. Meaning Froome’s leaked data could not be entirely accurate, and take all variables into account.
Brailsford’s team was under surveillance all Sunday night by photographers hoping to catch Froome sleeping in the coaches motorhome located in Pau. Brailsford brought along his personal motorhome on the Tour, giving him a safe and clean workplace that allows him to work and sleep in the same environment everyday.
Brailsford had hoped that Froome would benefit from the coaches mobile home in the same way he was, but the UCI altered their rule after a Team Sky cyclist was found using one. The updated regulations state that riders must stay in assigned hotels, and are not allowed to house elsewhere during their three-week Tour.
Organizers ensure teams are fairly spread throughout hotels during their three-wake race, where teams may lounge in nice five-star rooms and budget hotels the next night.
Brailsford has hired a lawyer and believes the security breach could be serious.