Team Sky insists it is “confident there has been no wrongdoing” regarding a report in the Daily Mail today regarding a package containing medicine allegedly delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins in June 2011 on the day he won the Critérium du Dauphiné.
While British Cycling was unable to confirm to the newspaper the substance involved, it did confirm that it was not triamcinolone, which Wiggins subsequently received a TUE for.
UK Anti-Doping is looking into the allegations and, according to the BBC, is also examining separate claims by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke that British Cycling “freely offered” the controversial painkiller Tramadol to the country’s riders at the 2012 UCI Road World Championships.
He told the BBC’s Dan Roan: “I wasn’t in any pain so I didn’t need to take it, and that was offered freely around. It just didn’t sit well with me at the time. I thought, ‘I’m not in any pain’, why would I want a painkiller?”
While the drug is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), its use in cycling is controversial, partly as a result of its side-effects which can cause users to lose concentration and lead to crashes.
The UCI has been lobbying WADA to ban the substance, but this week the agency confirmed that for now it would remain on its watch list rather than being prohibited.
Tiernan-Locke, Great Britain’s protected rider in the race, finishing 19th, joined Team Sky the following season but was sacked in 2014 after he was handed a two-year ban for irregularities in his biological passport.
He has also called into question Wiggins’ use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to treat pollen and grass allergies ahead of major races, saying his pattern of use “looks suspicious.”
Wiggins has already been under scrutiny since the Fancy Bears hacking group released copies of his TUE certificates last month after illegally accessing the World Anti-Doping Agency database, and the Daily Mail’s allegations raise further questions he needs to address.
However, Team Sky said in a statement issued today that it did not believe there was a case to answer in relation to the newspaper’s claims.
It confirmed it had been contacted by the Daily Mail “regarding an allegation of wrongdoing.”
The statement continued: "We take any issues such as this very seriously and immediately conducted an internal review to establish the facts. We are confident there has been no wrongdoing.
"We informed British Cycling of the allegation and asked them to contact UKAD, who we will continue to liaise with.
"Team Sky is committed to clean competition. Our position on anti-doping is well known and we 100 per cent stand by that," it added.
In a statement released on Friday evening, British Cycling said it could confirm that "there is an ongoing UKAD investigation with which we are cooperating fully," adding, "we are unable to comment further at this stage."
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.