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No charges over ‘mystery’ Wiggins package

Bradley Wiggins

Wiggins has won five Olympic gold medals on the road and track

There will be no charges over a ‘mystery’ medical package delivered for Sir Bradley Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011, says UK Anti-Doping.

The ruling follows an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky.

It was alleged the package contained a banned substance but the doctor involved, Dr Richard Freeman, said it was a legal decongestant – fluimucil.

Ukad said it had been “unable” to prove the package contained Fluimucil.

However, the organisation has shared information from its investigations with the General Medical Council (GMC).

Five-time Olympic champion Wiggins won the Criterium du Dauphine stage race in France that year and went on to become the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012.

The 14-month investigation has been closed and a Ukad statement said it would only “revisit matters if new and material information were to come to light”.

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A statement on the organisation’s website added: “Put simply, due to the lack of contemporaneous evidence, Ukad has been unable to definitively confirm the contents of the package.

“The significant likelihood is that it is now impossible to do so.”

Ukad chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the investigation was hindered by the “lack of accurate medical records” held by British Cycling.

“This is a serious concern,” she said. “As part of their conditions to receive public funding, all sports governing bodies must comply with the UK National Anti-Doping Policy.

“In this case the matter was further complicated by the cross over between personnel at British Cycling and Team Sky.”

How did it get to this point?

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Bradley Wiggins: ‘This was about putting myself back on a level playing field’

Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford was questioned by a Culture, Media and Sport Committee last December and said he had been told by then-team doctor Freeman that “it was Fluimucil for a nebuliser”.

Freeman, who was simultaneously employed by British Cycling and Team Sky between 2009 and 2015, missed the hearing through ill health but the DCMS committee was told that in 2014 he had a laptop containing medical records stolen.

As part of the investigation, Ukad interviewed 37 individuals, including current and former British Cycling and Team Sky riders, medical professionals and other staff.

From that, Ukad have established that:

  • At some point during the race, a request was made by Dr Freeman for a package to be delivered to him.
  • Coach Shane Sutton arranged for British Cycling employee Simon Cope to pick up that package and to bring it over to France.
  • Cope said it was left for him on a desk at the British Cycling offices sealed in a Jiffy bag. There was a post-it note on the package that said “To Simon, for Dr Richard Freeman”.
  • Cope travelled to Manchester to pick up that package, took a flight to Geneva, hired a car and took it to the end stage of the race on 12 June and passed the sealed Jiffy bag over to Dr Freeman.

When Ukad started its investigation into the ‘mystery’ package, Wiggins and Brailsford were already under scrutiny over the cyclist’s use of a banned steroid before races was leaked by hackers Fancy Bears.

Wiggins had sought therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to use banned anti-inflammatory drug triamcinoclone for allergies and respiratory issues before the 2011 Tour de France, his 2012 Tour win and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Wiggins, British Cycling and Team Sky have always denied any wrongdoing.

The chairman of the DCMS committee – MP Damian Collins – said after December’s hearing that the “credibility of Team Sky and British Cycling is in tatters”.

Brailsford has previously admitted he handled the situation “badly” but has consistently defended Team Sky’s stance against performance-enhancing drugs, stating that the British-based team can be “trusted “100%”.

Freeman was off work from British Cycling with a stress-related illness before resigning earlier this year.

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Analysis

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

With no clarity over what was in the now-infamous jiffy bag delivered to Team Sky in 2011, this represents a wholly unsatisfactory end to a saga that has tainted some of the biggest reputations in British sport, and exposed Ukad’s lack of power.

But, while this case may not have resulted in any anti-doping charges, the lack of medical records, the inaccuracies in Team Sky’s initial explanations for the mystery delivery, the unavailability of key witness Dr Richard Freeman to Ukad investigators, and the theft of his laptop, all means that suspicion will linger.

And at best, the attention to detail that was once the mantra of Team Sky and British Cycling has been exposed as hollow.

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Watch: Brailsford’s tense grilling on Team Sky

What they said

Team Sky: “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.”

British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington: “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 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.

“We are intent on ensuring that the integrity of our record keeping is never called into question again.”

GMC spokesperson: “Ukad have made us aware of these concerns and we are looking into these. However, we are not able to comment further on this matter.”

DCMS select committee chair Damian Collins MP: “The evidence that the committee has received during its inquiry points to serious and worrying structural problems within sport, both in terms of anti-doping and governance.

“The committee will be publishing its report on doping in sport shortly. This will be followed by a second report focusing on sports governance in the New Year.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41996027

My life was a living hell says Wiggins after investigation dropped

Bradley Wiggins

Sir Bradley Wiggins won five Olympic gold medals, as well as a silver medal and two bronze medals

Sir Bradley Wiggins said his life was “a living hell” during an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky.

On Wednesday, UK Anti-Doping said there would be no charges over a “mystery” medical package delivered for Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011.

Wiggins, 37, said the investigation “felt nothing less than a witch hunt”.

He added: “Being accused of any doping indiscretion is the worst possible thing for any professional sportsman.”

Wiggins won five Olympic gold medals and the 2012 Tour de France before retiring from cycling in December 2016.

It was alleged that the package that was the focus of the investigation contained a banned substance – but the doctor involved, Dr Richard Freeman, said it was a legal decongestant, Fluimucil.

The 14-month investigation has been closed and a Ukad statement said it would only “revisit matters if new and material information were to come to light”.

Ukad said it was unable to “definitively confirm the contents of the package” because of a “lack of contemporaneous evidence”.

Its chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the investigation was hindered by the “lack of accurate medical records” held by British Cycling.

  • March 2017 QA on cycling inquiry

‘It has felt nothing less than a malicious witch hunt’

Wiggins said in a statement: “I welcome Ukad’s confirmation that no anti-doping charges are to be brought regarding the so-called ‘jiffy-bag’ allegations.

“It has always been the case that no such charges could be brought against me as no anti-doping violations took place. I am pleased this has finally been confirmed publicly.

“This period of time has been a living hell for me and my family, full of innuendo and speculation. At times it has felt nothing less than a malicious witch hunt.”

Wiggins, who said he would assess potential legal options, was unhappy with Ukad’s statement and questioned the body’s decision to begin an investigation.

“To say I am disappointed by some of the comments made by Ukad this morning is an understatement,” added Wiggins. “No evidence exists to prove a case against me and in all other circumstances this would be an unqualified finding of innocence.

“Where did the information come from to launch the investigation?

“Who was the source? What exactly did that person say and to whom?

“Why did Ukad deem it appropriate to treat it as a credible allegation?”

Analysis

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

With no clarity over what was in the now-infamous jiffy bag delivered to Team Sky in 2011, this represents a wholly unsatisfactory end to a saga that has tainted some of the biggest reputations in British sport, and exposed Ukad’s lack of power.

Their statement is deliberately nuanced, falling short of an exoneration of those involved, much to Sir Bradley Wiggins’ dismay in a blistering statement, despite Britain’s most decorated Olympian facing no charges.

But while the end of the investigation will come as a relief to many in the sport, the lack of medical records, the inaccuracies in Team Sky’s initial explanations for the mystery delivery, the unavailability of key witness Dr Richard Freeman to Ukad investigators, the theft of his laptop, and the medical exemptions that Wiggins had before major races, all mean that suspicion will linger. The close relationship between Team Sky and the governing body (who still share headquarters in Manchester) is also again under scrutiny.

And at best, the attention to detail that was once the mantra of Team Sky and British Cycling has been exposed as hollow.

Background

How did this issue arise?

In October 2016, the Daily Mail reported that Team Sky’s Dr Richard Freeman had received a package from Simon Cope, then working as a coach for British Cycling’s women’s teams, on the final day of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. The package was alleged to be for Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won the race.

Ukad then began an investigation into the contents of the package.

What was in the package?

At a Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee hearing in December 2016, Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford – already facing questions after hackers had revealed Wiggins had received a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to take banned anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone for allergies and respiratory issues before key races – said that he had been told by Dr Freeman that the package contained Fluimucil.

Freeman, who was simultaneously employed by British Cycling and Team Sky between 2009 and 2015, missed the hearing through ill health but the DCMS committee was told that in 2014 he had a laptop containing medical records stolen while he was on holiday.

Freeman was off work from British Cycling with a stress-related illness before resigning last month.

More questions raised

Brailsford’s testimony was widely questioned. Cope was alleged to have flown into Geneva Airport and driven for two hours to France to deliver the package, but 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke pointed out that Fluimucil is available freely over the counter in France, and that there were eight pharmacies located within five kilometres of where the team received the package.

David Kenworthy, the previous chairman of Ukad, told the BBC in January the answers given by figures within British Cycling and Team Sky to the DCMS committee were “very disappointing”.

Prior to the hearing

In an interview with the BBC in January, Brailsford refused to confirm or deny whether he or anyone else at Team Sky had been able to provide paperwork to prove the package contained Fluimucil.

“I will give what I have got to Ukad,” he said. “I said what I had to say in the DCMS and I am leaving it there.”

Team Sky subsequently said that they were “confident” no wrongdoing would be found when the inquiry was concluded.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41999310

Peter Sagan: Cas to hear case against Tour de France disqualification

Mark Cavendish crashes in the sprint

Mark Cavendish (far left, on the ground) has won 30 stages in the Tour de France

World champion Peter Sagan will appeal against his 2017 Tour de France disqualification when his case is heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) on 6 December.

The Slovak was deemed to have caused the crash which ended Briton Mark Cavendish’s involvement in the race during stage four in July.

Cas rejected an initial urgent appeal to have the Slovak reinstated.

His team Bora-Hansgrohe said the jury did not listen to Sagan’s argument.

Cavendish said the 27-year-old elbowed him during the sprint finish in Vittel. The 32-year-old Briton crashed into the barriers and later pulled out of the race with a broken shoulder.

“I can accept the decision but for sure I do not agree with them, because I think I have done nothing wrong,” Sagan said at the time.

The cyclist and his team insisted he did not see Cavendish as the Manxman tried to race up the inside by the barriers.

Sagan was initially docked 30 seconds before the race jury reviewed the footage and upgraded his punishment to disqualification, ending his bid to win the Tour’s green jersey for the leader of the points classification for a record-equalling sixth straight year.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41987652

Watch: GB women win World Cup team pursuit gold

Rugbytots Bristol

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41962122

Britain win third World Cup gold medal

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Great Britain women win gold in team pursuit

Great Britain claimed their third gold medal of the Track Cycling World Cup with victory in the women’s team pursuit in Manchester on Sunday.

Elinor Barker, Katie Archibald, Emily Nelson and Neah Evans crushed the Italian team in the final.

It was Archibald and Barker’s second gold, having triumphed in Saturday’s madison after Britain’s men’s team won their team pursuit final.

Callum Skinner took bronze in the men’s 1km time trial for the 100% me team.

Scotland’s Skinner finished over one second behind gold medallist Matthew Glaetzer from Australia, while German Eric Engler was second.

Earlier in qualifying, Glaetzer set a sea-level record of 59.790 seconds, the first sub-one-minute time in the event.

The women’s team pursuit victory came in a time of four minutes 16.803 seconds, their fastest since their world-record time at the 2016 Rio Olympics and almost five seconds ahead of Italy.

“It is pretty quick considering we have had a big month of racing before this,” Barker said. “It says a lot and we can push this time a bit going into the Worlds.”

Archibald added: “I really didn’t think we would have that margin. I feel quite buoyant now.”

Britain’s Joe Truman qualified for the men’s keirin final, but finished sixth as Dutchman Matthijs Buchli won gold.

Great Britain finished second in the medal table with five medals, while Jonathan Mould also won silver for Team Wales.

Germany topped the table with four gold medals, three of which were won by Kristina Vogel.

The event is the second of five World Cup weekends with the next coming in Milton, Canada, from 1-3 December.

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Track Cycling World Cup: GB’s Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker win madison gold

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41962390

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