British Cycling have been unable to supply documentation to back up Sir Dave Brailsford’s assertion that the Jiffy bag delivered to Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné contained the decongestant Fluimucil, according to an MP.
The chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Damian Collins MP, told the BBC's Today programme: "What we hoped we might get is a paper trail – it should be really simple – but clearly that doesn't exist."
He added: "It seems difficult to get precise records about what was in this package, why it was ordered – the detail you would want to know.
"Good practice in a case like this should be that these sort of records are kept, and therefore it's very easy to identify what's been couriered, what's been requested."
Collins said MPs had only been given a letter saying that British Cycling understand it was Fluimucil in the package, “but they could have said they had checked the evidence [for that]. No assurance could be given.”
The committee, which has been questioning a number of figures from British Cycling and Team Sky, is unlikely to hear more witnesses until UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) has published its ongoing inquiry into possible wrongdoing at the two organisations.
“The Ukad report is the next step, then we will decide whether to take further evidence from witnesses,” said Collins.
British Cycling president Bob Howden said: “We forwarded the details around the transmittal of the package to the select committee. Ukad have the access to the records, they have the gateway, they have the keys to our medical room and all our records, so it would be for Ukad to confirm that, not British Cycling at this stage.”
Ukad’s findings could trigger further hearings if they are “inconclusive” and Collins has said that Simon Cope, the British Cycling coach who transported the package and Dr Richard Freeman, the doctor to whom it was delivered, could then be questioned.
The Guardian reports that information supplied by British Cycling to MPs included the expense claim made by Cope, which came to almost £600 – a sum that was reimbursed to British Cycling by Team Sky.
Collins is keen to know why the trip was necessary.
"The answer we were given was that it can sometimes be easier and quicker if you know someone is coming out just to bring it from the British Cycling store in Manchester.
"But in this case, looking at the records we saw yesterday, it would appear that that process would have taken several days. A lot of people looking at this say that it just looks odd."
The delivery has also been questioned by former world and Olympic champion, Nicole Cooke, who believes that it is also of relevance to UK Sport’s independent review into the culture at British Cycling.
Writing in The Guardian, Cooke asks why it was deemed acceptable to use the publicly funded national women’s team road manager, Cope, as a courier.
Cope said that in 2011 he had been working with Sky regularly and had been running training camps with Bradley Wiggins.
Cooke said that throughout early 2011 she had been attempting to get Cope to run a single training camp for the women riders he was meant to be managing.
“Eventually I got Cope to agree to a camp to prepare for the world championships in Copenhagen and we both proposed it to Brailsford and Sutton – the same pair who apparently think it fine to fly a courier with a €10 med 1,000 miles across Europe.
“I have the email and Sutton’s response turning down the training camp suggestion. Nothing was put in its place, and so the women went to another world championships without having conducted a single team camp. Needless to say, our team preparation was insufficient.”
She added: “The MPs were good enough to ask if the public purse was refunded for the €10 meds supplied from British Cycling and perhaps an air ticket. It now appears Sky paid Cope’s expenses. A more pertinent question for me might be: could anyone quantify the impact Cope’s moonlighting away from his publicly funded role, and the failure to conduct a single camp for the British women’s road team he was meant to manage, had on our failure in Copenhagen?”
The UK Sport review stopped accepting evidence on November 30 and is expected to publish in January.