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Sir Dave Brailsford: Critics spurred Team Sky on to Tour de France win

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Sir Dave Brailsford claims the criticism aimed at his team drove them to success at the Tour de France

Sir Dave Brailsford says accusations of doping from pundits and spectators spurred Chris Froome and Team Sky on to victory at the Tour France.

Froome emerged triumphant for the second time in three years on Sunday and it was a third success in four years for Team Sky.

But the team had to endure allegations of doping from pundits and fans, while Froome had urine thrown at him by spectators and was also spat at during the race.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 26:  Team Sky manager Sir David Brailsford celebrates Chris Froome's victory in the 2015 Tour de France
Image: Brailsford celebrates winning the Tour for the third time on Sunday

Team Sky have always maintained they are a clean team and Brailsford says the allegations and abuse made the riders even more determined.

Asked on Sky Sports News HQ about motivating the team, he said: “The critics did that for us. The more people criticised, the more we pulled together. Ironically, all the criticism they got helped us win.

“I don’t think people realised that, so I would like to thank them. They made my job a lot easier and gave us a common enemy in effect.

Sir Dave Brailsford and Chris Froome celebrate Tour de France success
Image: Brailsford and Chris Froome celebrate on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday

“It makes everybody pull together, everybody gel together, and it really does bond the guys together when you have got that kind of pressure on.

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“It makes my job easy and the dynamic looks after itself in those circumstances. You have to feed off it and take it as part of the journey towards winning.”

Brailsford says he is confident Froome can challenge for the Tour de France title again next year.

Runner-up Nairo Quintana gave Froome a tough time in the Alps during the closing stages of the race, but Brailsford thinks Froome’s all-round prowess and the strength of Team Sky can give him the edge.

Nairo Quintana, Tour de France, stage 20
Image: Nairo Quintana pushed Froome close at the Tour

Asked if Froome was capable of securing back-to-back wins, Brailsford said: “Without a doubt. When you lose, by the nature of losing, you start debriefing, thinking, ‘What went wrong?’, ‘What are we going to do next?’, and you really go to town on the debrief.

“When you win, the danger is that you don’t do that. It’s easy to skip over that and just go on to the race with the momentum you have created.

“For us the important thing is to go to town and really pick this apart. What worked, what did not work, what are we going to do, and then look forward to next year.

Sir Dave Brailsford, Tour de France, Team Sky
Image: Brailsford believes Froome's win was the best of Team Sky's three Tour victories

“I think the great thing about our sport at the minute is you have Nairo Quintana, who is a young guy and a talented climber, but he has not got the breadth of talent that Chris has got. And Chris has a better team, I would add. So, it sets it up beautifully for next year. I have got every confidence in Chris’s ability.

“Success comes from talent and hunger. If you haven’t got the hunger, you will never get the best out of your talent. These guys [Froome and his team-mates] have got the hunger. They remain hungry and I am sure they will be back fighting next year for the Tour de France title.”

Team Sky have won the Tour three times in four years but Brailsford thinks this year’s team are the strongest he has ever been associated with.

Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Tour de France, satge 21, Paris, Champs-Elysees
Image: Geraint Thomas and Froome ride down the Champs-Elysees on Sunday

He said: “From a group dynamic and team point of view, it is the best team I have ever worked with and I have worked with some pretty good teams over the years.

“The dynamic among the guys, the communication among the guys, the honesty and the way they committed to one another. Chris could not win the biggest bike race in the world without a fantastic team behind him.

“He could not do it alone and we have got a fantastic group of world-class guys who are willing to sacrifice everything they have got, every single day, to help Chris win. They pulled together and it was an amazing thing to watch.”

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