Ex-UCI president Brian Cookson has expressed his belief that Sir Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky and the sport as a whole should have their reputations “reinstated” in the wake of UK Anti-Doping’s failure to bring charges relating to the now infamous Jiffy bag delivered to the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.
A 14-month investigation into the medical package sent to Wiggins ended without charges after UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) failed to identify the contents.
Ukad chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the investigation was hampered by a lack of accurate medical records and information has been handed to the General Medical Council (GMC) which may result in it carrying out its own investigation.
Speaking to the BBC, Cookson said: "I think the reputation of the sport, the reputation of the team and the reputation of the rider Bradley Wiggins should be reinstated.
"At the end of the day I have no idea what was in that package, and have no idea what the so-called whistle blower told Ukad or told the Daily Mail what was in the package. Ukad have not been able to put a case together so that's the end of the story."
Cookson also commented on Team Sky’s approach to therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) after Shane Sutton recently described their use as having been a legitimate means of “finding the gains.”
"I've said many times before I don't think anyone should be surprised when a professional sports team pushes the rules right to the very limit," said Cookson.
"That's what professional sports teams do – you see it in football, you see it in Formula One and so on. That's essentially I think what's happened here; in terms of the structures that were in place at the time, the rules were abided by."
As for whether those rules are fit for purpose, Cookson appears to advocate tighter controls.
"If you want my view I think [TUEs] should be allowed, but if they are allowed then the rider doesn't compete for a limited period of time.
"That's not the rules at the moment. The World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) has looked at the rules time and time again every year and kept the TUE system. It's fit for purpose in their view and sports have to abide by the rules.
"We did tighten the rules up on how TUEs were issued and that's resulted in far fewer being issued. I think that's a good thing."
Cookson was ousted from the UCI presidency in September after David Lappartient won the election by 37 votes to eight.
He expressed surprise at the result. "It wasn't one I was expecting but in politics you have to live and go on and find other things to do. My life will be less stressful and more enjoyable and I'll be able to spend more time riding my bike, so I'm a happy man."
As for what he might do next, he repeated his interest in launching a women’s team.
"I'm looking forward to doing some interesting things for the future. One of them is to put together a women's team, a very high-level thing. I want to try to lift the whole paradigm of women's cycling.
"It's something I started doing at the UCI and I want to do more of it now with a hands-on approach to a team in the future.
"From 2019 the UCI is going to insist on having two levels of teams for women in the same way there are three for men.
"There will be a new level of women's world tour teams and they will have to adhere to higher standards, better funding, proper salaries and so on and that's something I want to do with a team based in the UK."