Britain’s three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has backed under-fire Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford but says his team “need to do better”.
Brailsford said he would not resign over a ‘mystery package’ sent for Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2011, which UK Anti-Doping is investigating.
“Without Dave B there is no Team Sky,” said Froome, who added it would “take time for faith to be restored”.
Team Sky said “mistakes were made” but deny breaking anti-doping rules.
Brailsford has said he was told the package contained a legal decongestant – Fluimucil – but the team have been unable to provide records to back up the claim.
A parliamentary select committee into anti-doping has been hearing evidence about the package, with committee chairman Damian Collins MP saying that Team Sky’s reputation had been left in tatters.
Dr Richard Freeman, who received the package for Team Sky, did not attend the hearing because of ill health.
Last week several Team Sky riders – including Britain’s Geraint Thomas – tweeted their support for Brailsford, but Froome did not comment publicly at the time.
Thomas said last week there were “still questions to be answered” and expressed his annoyance that “Freeman and Brad don’t seem to have the flak”.
Froome statement in full
“It disappoints me hugely to see the way in which Team Sky has been portrayed by the media recently. It does not reflect the support crew and the riders that I see around me.
“At the same time, I completely understand why people feel let down by the way in which the situation has been handled, and going forward we need to do better.
“I would like to apologise for this on behalf of myself and the other riders of Team Sky who feel passionately about our sport and winning clean. I believe in the people around me, and what we are doing.
“With respect to Dave Brailsford, he has created one of the best sports teams in the world. Without Dave B, there is no Team Sky.
“He has supported me throughout the last seven years of my career and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities and the experiences I’ve had. By his own admission, mistakes have been made, but protocols have been put in place to ensure that those same mistakes will not be made again.
“I know it will take time for faith to be restored, but I will do my utmost to ensure that happens, along with everyone else at Team Sky.”