Team Sky have been accused of deceiving the organisers of the Giro d'Italia by not informing them of Chris Froome's failed drugs test when they negotiated their seven-figure appearance fee.
On the eve of the prologue stage here in Jerusalem, race director Mauro Vegni condemned Sir Dave Brailsford for not disclosing the situation and intimated it would be better for the sport if Tom Dumoulin is standing on top of the podium at the finish in Rome.
The Italian then revealed that when news eventually broke of Froome's adverse analytical finding at last year's Vuelta a Espana, the Team Sky principal flew out to see him to explain himself.
Chris Froome (right) prepares for the Giro d'Italia as his appearance is shrouded in controversy
Organisers claim they didn't know of his failed drugs test before agreeing an appearance fee
Asked on Thursday if he felt deceived by Team Sky during those negotiations over appearance money, Vegni replied: 'Definitely, yes. The relationship with Team Sky took place before the Giro presentation, so I would have expected, within a correct relationship, to be informed somehow. I didn't really like this.'
Froome failed his test after the 18th stage of the Vuelta on September 7, with the UCI informing him of his adverse analytical finding on September 20.
It was announced at the official launch of the Giro D'Italia on November 29 that Froome had chosen to ride in a bid to become the first cyclist since Bernard Hinault to hold all three Grand Tour titles simultaneously. The Giro organisers only learned of Froome's situation, however, when the story broke in December.
Race director Mauro Vegni condemned Sir Dave Brailsford for not disclosing the situation
Vegni said he was quick to contact Brailsford. 'I did express my thinking on the phone to Dave and he came immediately to Italy to meet me,' he said.
'Dave was not pleased and he told me that,