Team Sky’s medical practices are under fresh scrutiny following claims that riders received injections to help their recovery after some of them asked the team to revise the ‘no-needles’ policy it adopted when it began racing in 2010.
According to the Guardian, a source within the team told UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) that the procedure was used after the UCI had also introduced a ‘no-needles’ policy at races in 2011, but said it may have been done within the rules.
The newspaper says that the claims were made in a letter sent in February to Damian Collins, the Folkestone & Hythe MP who is chairing a House of Commons select committee inquiry into doping in sport.
The person who sent the letter is described as a “Sky insider” and according to the Guardian also got in touch with UKAD as part of its investigation into the team.
Among the claims made in the letter are that while the ‘mystery package’ delivered to the team’s doctor at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné did indeed include the decongestant Fluimucil, as Sir Dave Brailsford has insisted.
But the source said that the drug, which is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, may have been used via injections to help riders recover.
That may help explain one of the aspects of the affair that has puzzled some, namely why Sir Bradley Wiggins would have been administered the drug immediately after winning the French stage race, given he would not race again until the British national championships a fortnight later.
When he testified before the Commons select committee in December, Brailsford said that Fluimucil was “a decongestant that you put in a nebuliser. I couldn’t see any anti-doping rule violation.”
No mention was made of needles, nor of the drug being used for recovery purposes, although under anti-doping rules in force at the time, injections could not be administered until two days after a competition finished.
The Guardian reported a UKAD spokesperson as saying that the agency “does not discuss or disclose information in relation to its investigations.”
It added that Team Sky commented: “It is right that any concerns are reported to and dealt with by the appropriate authorities, and we will continue to co-operate with them,” and that it has not yet been contacted by “any of the relevant authorities.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.