Cycling: Cycling-Ineos chief Brailsford ready to step down if health issues persist


(Reuters) – Ineos Grenadiers chief Dave Brailsford has said his health issues could prompt him to step down as team principal after being treated for cancer and a heart problem in the last two years.

The 57-year-old, who had surgery in 2019 for prostate cancer and had a heart problem earlier this year, said “life-threatening moments” in the span of two years had made him consider stepping down.

“If I do have any further health issues, I won’t be able to continue, I’m pretty clear about that,” Brailsford told The Guardian after the Tour de France where his team again failed to win as UAE Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar won back-to-back titles.

“I’m trying to look after myself but I’m here to help other people, to lead and support other people. If the moment comes when you’re trying to support yourself more then it’s time to get out.

“The cancer one was scary but manageable, but the heart issue felt different, way more scary. Then you start asking the question: ‘How long will my health last?'”

Brailsford’s heart problem emerged around the same time Richard Freeman, the former chief doctor for Team Sky and British Cycling, was permanently struck off the medical register in March after being found guilty of ordering testosterone “knowing or believing” it to be for an athlete to improve performance.

Freeman has denied any wrongdoing and lodged an appeal to the High Court to clear his name.

Brailsford, who has managed the team since its inception as Team Sky in 2010 and guided them to seven Tour de France titles since, brushed aside notions that the heart problem stemmed from stress due to the investigation.

“It’s a stressful job, that goes with the territory, not only in the last year, but over the last 10 years I think,” he added.

“When you’re successful like we have been, you get a lot of questions asked. Coming to France in the past and the challenges we’ve had, it’s part of the job and it takes some resilience to deal with that.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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