Chris Froome has said he understands why people feel "let down" by Team Sky after questions were raised about anti-doping measures.
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, the three-time Tour de France winner said.
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.
The cycling team’s principal Sir David Brailsford has acknowledged mistakes in the handling of Team Sky’s anti-doping medical practices.
He admitted some members of staff did not fully comply with policies and procedures, but pointed out the mistakes were process failures rather than wrongdoing.
Sir David made his comments in a letter to Damian Collins, the chairman of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport select committee.
The team has been embroiled in controversy over a ‘mystery’ package hand-delivered in a jiffy bag to Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman for rider Sir Bradley Wiggins.
The UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) agency is investigating whether the team and British Cycling violated anti-doping rules over the package. The MPs’ committee is also looking into the delivery.
Sir David has said he was told it contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil, but as yet no documentary evidence has been produced.
It has been alleged the package instead contained the banned corticosteroid Triamcinolone, the drug for which Wiggins later received therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for but which he would not have been permitted to use at the time.
Team Sky have strenuously denied that was the case.
UKAD boss Nicole Sapstead has said its investigation had found the absence of documentary evidence was because Dr Freeman had failed to follow the team’s record-keeping policy and had his laptop stolen in 2014.
She said there was no sign of any records to confirm if the package contained Fluimucil and because of this, UKAD was unsure if Dr Freeman, who is no longer with Team Sky but still works for British Cycling, and Sir Bradley broke anti-doping rules – an allegation both deny.
Froome added: 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.
(c) Sky News 2017: Chris Froome says Team Sky ‘need to do better’