British Cycling has announced that Dr Nigel Jones will become the head of medical services for the Great Britain Cycling Team. The new role is part of a series of reforms announced in response to previous heavy criticism of the governing body’s medical record-keeping.
In April, British Cycling announced an independent review into the operational practices of its medical and physiotherapy teams after criticism from both a House of Commons Select Committee and UK Anti-doping (Ukad).
Ukad’s probe, “suggested failings in medicine ordering, management, administration and disposal as well as the quality, consistency and completeness of medical records.”
Of particular concern was the now infamous package delivered to former team doctor Richard Freeman at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné by Simon Cope, then manager of the Great Britain elite women’s road team.
While Ukad were told that the package contained the decongestant Fluimucil, Freeman did not have any documentation to prove this.
In a letter to the select committee, he wrote: “In 2011 neither [Team Sky nor British Cycling] had a written medicines-management policy or stock-taking system. This was not uncommon practice in sports teams at that time.”
British Cycling has since acknowledged “serious failings in our record keeping at the time.”
The review of the organisation’s medical procedures, which was carried out by Dr Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at the English Institute of Sport, recommended that the medical team be split into two sections – Rider Health, and Medical Services.
The Rider Health section is concerned with optimising bike ergonomics, and will run research on injury and illness reduction and mental health risk mitigation, as well as educating riders on anti-doping and lifestyle issues.
The Medical Services section will focus on riders’ medical care, as well as medicines management and record keeping.
Jones, who is currently a consultant in sport and exercise medicine at Spire Liverpool Hospital, will begin the role on September 1, taking responsibility for the strategy, function and integrity of the British Cycling medical services team.
Announcing the appointment, performance director Stephen Park said: “I am delighted we have been able to appoint someone of Dr Nigel Jones’ calibre as the head of medical services and I believe he will be an invaluable addition to the medical services team, which he will take responsibility for leading.
“Nigel has extensive experience in working with elite sports teams and we were impressed by the modern approach he takes to sports medicine. Athlete well-being is at the heart of the Great Britain Cycling Team, and Nigel has proven he has the clinical, managerial and leadership skills necessary to continue moving this forward.”
Jones, who has previously worked with the Rugby Football union and Liverpool Football Club, said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as the head of medical services for the Great Britain Cycling Team.
“My personal aim is to make a significant contribution to the care of the riders. I’m looking forward to working alongside the current members of the medical services team and supporting the wider performance team.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to join Britain’s most successful Olympic and Paralympic team in the build up to Tokyo 2020 and beyond, and I’m looking forward to playing a part in supporting the riders on this journey.”