Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Brailsford admits his comments made Wiggins controversy "worse"

Team Sky boss also denies there is "systemic pattern of TUE abuse"...

Sir Dave Brailsford has admitted that the way he has handled the controversy surrounding a package delivered to Team Sky during the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné has made the situation “a damn sight worse than it needs to be.”

He has also said that the team may disclose some information relating to future use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs).

UK Anti-Doping has opened an investigation into the affair, which involved former British Cycling national women’s team manager Simon Cope flying to Geneva with the package that contained an unspecified medicine and was reportedly destined for Sir Bradley Wiggins.

However, team principal Brailsford last week said that he believed that the contents of the package were destined for Emma Pooley – although she pointed out that since, on the day in question, she was racing in the Spanish Basque region, there was no way that could be true.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Cycling Podcast, hosted by Richard Moore and Lionel Birnie, Brailsford said, “I shouldn’t have been so hasty in sharing that,” in relation to his reference to Pooley.

“I should have waited until the picture was complete rather than contradict myself. I’ve thrown petrol on the fire.

"From what was a small little fire, if you like, I have inadvertently thrown a huge amount of petrol on it. And two and two equals 10 now.

"We're not cheating. We're not doing anything wrong here. The one thing I know about Team Sky is that this is a clean team. If I didn't think we were doing it the right way I wouldn't be doing it."

He was pressed more than once about what medical substance the package contained, but did not provide any further clarification.

When it broke the story, the Daily Mail said that a Team Sky insider had allegedly seen Wiggins go into the treatment room on the Team Sky bus with its doctor, Richard Freeman, after the package had been delivered.

British Cycling and Team Sky have both said that they have reported the issue to UKAD, with Brailsford insisting that he could “find no wrongdoing,” no “anti-doping rule violation,” no “prohibited substances.”

He went on: “I can’t see any of that from what I’ve got. We’re not hiding anything wrong here. I welcome the intervention of UKAD … they can get to the bottom of it and establish the truth.”

The latest controversy came hot on the heels of the Fancy Bears hacking group’s publication of TUEs issued to Wiggins for the corticosteroid triamcinolone before the Tour de France in 2011 and 2012 and the Giro d’Italia in 2013.

The group, which had hacked an International Olympic Committee account to access records on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s database of athletes competing at Rio this summer, also published TUE certificates issued to Team Sky’s Chris Froome.

While the TUEs were secured in accordance with UCI rules, Wiggins in particular has come under scrutiny given that triamcinolone has been used by drugs cheats, although both he and Brailsford insist it was administered for a genuine medical need, his allergies to pollen and grass.

The Team Sky boss insisted again to the Cycling Podcast that “there isn’t a systematic pattern of TUE abuse” and insisted there was no chance that any of the team’s riders had used triamcinolone to lose weight, saying, “for me that would be over the line.”

He added that the team may, in future, make some TUEs public and that it was considering conducting an independent review of its operations to ensure “we achieve the ethical standards we are trying to achieve.”

Meanwhile, Professor Steve Peters, the sports psychologist who worked with Brailsford at British Cycling and Team Sky, said he believed in his “integrity.”

He told Sky News: "I wasn't really involved in the ins and outs of recent events,” but continued: "I can just say that I know Dave Brailsford well, and he is a man of integrity, and the reason he got up and beat his chest and said this is going to be a clean team is because he meant it.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Latest Comments