British Cycling has announced an independent review into the operational practices of its medical and physiotherapy teams.
The review, which will be conducted by Dr Rod Jacques, director of medical services at the English Institute for Sport, will also examine how closely those are aligned “with the highest standards of UK professional conduct and procedures.”
Recent months have seen the organisation come under criticism over its medical record keeping by a House of Commons Select Committee and by UK Anti-doping (UKAD) regarding the contents of the ‘mystery package’ containing medicine for Sir Bradley Wiggins.
The package was delivered to former team doctor Richard Freeman at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné by Simon Cope, then manager of the Great Britain elite women’s road team.
UKAD, whose investigation is seeking to establish whether there was any wrongdoing on the part of either Team Sky or British Cycling, has yet to publish its findings.
However, British Cycling said that the anti-doping agency’s probe “suggested failings in medicine ordering, management, administration and disposal as well as the quality, consistency and completeness of medical records.”
It said that the review, which has already begun, “will involve a series of confidential, face-to-face interviews and an appraisal of current processes, policies and medical resourcing, management and reporting.
“It will identify areas for improvement and make recommendations on how British Cycling can develop and implement best practice systems in its medical set-up.”
British Cycling’s recently appointed people director, Michael Chivers, commented: “We are committed to providing the highest standards of medical support - that’s why we’ve commissioned an external expert to scrutinise our existing processes and procedures and to make a series of recommendations on how we can improve.
“We will not prejudge what the recommendations might be, but we are keen to bring parity between performance and health and welfare, and to ensure we reduce the potential for conflicts of interest between a team’s medical staff and its coaches.”
Its performance director, Stephen Park, who was at last week’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong said: “This is about balancing high performance with high support in terms of the health and welfare services we provide our athletes.
“I’ve been impressed by much of the work that the team is doing, and in commissioning this review the intent is to strive for continual improvement to ensure that we are operating to the highest standard.”
The governing body has been undergoing a high-profile independent review for the past year into the culture of its World Class Performance Programme following allegations of bullying and discrimination.
The review was ordered by UK Sport, the government agency that distributes public funding to Olympic and Paralympic Sports.
Last week, British Cycling said it expected the much-delayed report to be published next month.
However, as we reported yesterday, publication may have to be further delayed due to Whitehall rules regarding what government departments and agencies are permitted to do in the run-up to a general election.
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.