UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) has closed its investigation into Team Sky and British Cycling without charges having failed to identify the contents of the package delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.
In his testimony before the select committee for culture, media and sport, Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford said he had been told that the substance in the now infamous Jiffy bag was Fluimucil.
British Cycling was unable to supply documentation to back up this assertion and Dr Richard Freeman, the doctor who ordered the package, was unable to give evidence to the inquiry, citing ill health. He has since resigned from his position at British Cycling .
Ukad chief executive Nicole Sapstead said that while the investigation had been closed, information would be handed to the General Medical Council (GMC) which might result in it carrying out its own investigation.
“Our investigation was hampered by a lack of accurate medical records being available at British Cycling. This is a serious concern. As part of their conditions to receive public funding from UK Sport and other Home Country Sports Councils, all sports governing bodies must comply with the UK National Anti-Doping Policy. In this case the matter was further complicated by the crossover between personnel at British Cycling and Team Sky.
“We have written to British Cycling and a copy of this letter has also been sent to UK Sport and Sport England. We have also separately written to Team Sky. Finally, we have referred some information to the GMC, and will cooperate with the GMC as necessary in respect of that information.”
British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington admitted to previous failings at the organisation with regards to its medical record-keeping and also resulting from the blurring of lines between it and Team Sky.
She pointed to recent changes made at the organisation, such as the overhaul of its medical practices, as being indicative of its will to change.
“I would like to thank Nicole Sapstead and her team at Ukad for the diligence and determination they have shown in investigating this matter. Their work on this, and throughout sport, is essential if we are to earn and retain the trust of athletes and fans.
“Ukad’s findings represent an organisation and culture that, despite delivering on the world stage, did not meet the high standards that British Cycling today holds itself to. We note that Ukad have referred information arising from their investigation to the General Medical Council and we offer them our wholehearted cooperation.
“British Cycling have implemented a number of significant changes to the management of our medical services to the Great Britain Cycling Team following a review instigated in March by chair Jonathan Browning, shortly after his appointment. This was an external review led by Dr Rod Jaques of the English Institute of Sport and all of his recommendations have been accepted by British Cycling. We welcome Ukad’s support for these changes.
“The association between British Cycling and Team Sky has been a positive force for cycling in this country. However we accept that the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky developed rapidly and as a result, at times, resulted in the blurring of the boundaries between the two. This led to some failings in the way that processes and people were managed.
“Today, based on our learning together there are clear boundaries and distinctions between our two organisations: no one is simultaneously employed by British Cycling and Team Sky; and we each have our own practices in place for managing athlete records.
“My focus now is on ensuring that we can give athletes and the public the reassurance they need to believe in our ability to win clean on the biggest global stages because of the systems and controls we have put in place. We are intent on ensuring that the integrity of our record keeping is never called into question again.”
A statement from Team Sky said:
“UK Anti-Doping has today confirmed that it does not intend to bring forward any anti-doping charges in relation to its investigation into issues around the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. This investigation has now been brought to a close.
“We are pleased that UK Anti-Doping have concluded their investigation and that they will not be taking any further action. We have always maintained that there was no wrongdoing and we have co-operated fully with UK Anti-Doping over the last year.
“Since our inception as a new pro cycling team in 2010 we have continually strengthened our systems and processes so they best support our strong commitment to anti-doping.”
In a statement, Wiggins welcomed confirmation that no charges would be brought, but expressed his disappointment at the way Ukad had made the announcement.
“No evidence exists to prove a case against me and in all other circumstances this would be an unqualified finding of innocence.
“The amount of time it has taken to come to today’s conclusion has caused serious personal damage, especially as the investigation seems to be predicated on a news headline rather than real solid information.”
Wiggins goes on to ask a series of questions of Ukad regarding why it decided to launch an investigation in the first place and enquiring how much public money was spent.
My say on the matter... pic.twitter.com/7MiSsFHtQE
— Brad Wiggins (@SirWiggo) November 15, 2017