The culture, media and sport select committee says it may question the man who delivered the package to Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné with UK Anti-Doping apparently not yet having seen proof of what it contained.
Ex-British Cycling employee Simon Cope, now sports director at Team Wiggins, travelled 900 miles carrying what is said to have been medicine destined for Sir Bradley Wiggins – a product which could apparently have been bought at a local chemist for €8.
Cope flew from Manchester to Geneva on June 12, 2011, at the request of Team Sky, and handed a 'Jiffy bag envelope' to the team's doctor, Richard Freeman.
Speaking in October, he said there was nothing “dodgy” in the package, but also admitted that he didn’t know what it had contained.
"I don't have a clue what was in there. It wasn't something unusual either. If people were going somewhere they'd just say 'can you take this?' There's no way that British Cycling are going to put something dodgy or illegal for them to take through customs. It's just not going to happen. It's just madness. You have to go through two sets of customs. Why are you going to take the risk?”
Cope said that despite being the manager of the British women's team and the women's under-23 academy coach at that time, he would often attend professional men’s races and had been hoping to get a role as a sports director at Team Sky.
“I was women's coach in title, but I didn't actually have a role in 2011 and I did a hell of a lot of work for Sky.”
He added that this particular errand had also seen him deliver spare clothes.
Earlier this week, British Cycling President Bob Howden and Dr George Gilbert, who sits on the governing body’s board and chairs its Ethics Commission, repeatedly claimed to MPs that they were gagged by UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) from talking about the package while insisting they knew nothing of the contents.
Shane Sutton subsequently told the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that it had contained medicine and Sir Dave Brailsford then said that it was a decongestant called Fluimucil.
Outlining the background to the delivery, Sutton said that Freeman had asked him if he knew anyone coming from the UK who could bring a package. Sutton said it was a Team Sky matter and nothing to do with British Cycling.
Brailsford said there “should be” a paper trail relating to the delivery of the Fluimucil and when asked if anything else had been in the package, replied: “I hope not.”
The Team Sky principal also claimed that Sir Bradley Wiggins had surrendered his medical records to Ukad, but it is unclear whether this is actually the case and The Guardian has reported that Ukad is yet to be presented with incontrovertible paper evidence of what was in the package.
The chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Damian Collins, told the newspaper that he is “open” to interviewing Cope and bringing back previous witnesses in the new year, following Ukad’s report into the matter.
“I’m hoping to get the Ukad report early in the new year, but if we feel we can find out extra information we will look at interviewing Cope,” he said. “Certainly we want to find out whether Cope went to Team Sky specifically to deliver this package or whether he was going out to France anyway.”
Brailsford told the select committee that the coach was coming to France anyway to help with moving the team to another venue in northern Italy. However, Sutton said that he shared a car back to Geneva airport after Cope had made the delivery.
Collins also expressed concern at the claims of the Daily Mail's Matt Lawton that Brailsford had tried to kill the story for fear it would mean the end of Team Sky.
“We need to know when he knew what was in the package, and why he was seeking to close down a perfectly legitimate enquiry. It was perfectly right for Lawton to pursue this. Brailsford needs to explain what he knew and when – and why he didn’t tell Lawton what was in the package when he was first asked.”
In an emailed statement yesterday, Team Sky said:
"Dave [Brailsford] gave public evidence to the select committee [on Monday] for an hour as part of its inquiry into anti-doping.
"As we have always said, we believe what is most important is for UKAD to establish the truth independently. We are confident that when it reports it will be clear that there has been no wrongdoing.
"During the committee session, Dave acknowledged once again his own mistakes in handling the issue over recent months. We are continuing to co-operate fully with UKAD and we look forward to its report."