Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has given his 100 per cent backing to Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins' expletive-laden response to insinuations that the team's success was the result of doping.
Wiggins hit back at the team's anonymous critics in an interview yesterday, and will today seek to retain the overall leader's yellow jersey on the 41.5-kilometre stage nine individual time-trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon.
Brailsford could understand why the doping slurs angered Wiggins so much.
"The guy's just got off his bike after a very, very hard six-hour stage, he's stuffed, he comes in and then he gets asked if he's cheating," Brailsford said.
"I totally agree with the sentiment and I like the passion, I back him 100 per cent.
"There may be a few choice words language-wise that you could change but, apart from that, the sentiment was spot-on as far as I'm concerned and there is no issue whatsoever for me.
"When you see the deluge of Tweets and support that came in last night from the professional sporting community, it was quite amazing."
Sir Clive Woodward, England's Rugby World Cup-winning coach and the British Olympic Association's deputy chef de mission, was among those to declare his support publicly on Twitter.
While support for Wiggins was generated on the social networking site, it is also the medium many cyber critics use to question the triple Olympic champion's success, after wins in the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races this season.
Brailsford, who as British Cycling performance director has long overseen Wiggins' progression, added: "What people might not realise, particularly with Twitter, all these people who hide behind false names, pseudonyms, the amount of abuse he gets and we all get.
"There's something different about fronting up, being yourself and coming and saying face to face 'this is what I think of you'.
"But if you want to do it behind a pseudonym it smacks of cowardice."
At the race leader's post-stage press conference, Wiggins was asked about Team Sky's performance on stage seven and the cynics who suggest riders have to take drugs to win the Tour.
Wiggins said: "I say they're just f*****g w*****s. I cannot be doing with people like that.
"It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can't ever imagine applying themselves to do anything in their lives.
"It's easy for them to sit under a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of s**t, rather than get off their arses in their own lives and apply themselves and work hard at something and achieve something.
"And that's ultimately it. C***s."
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