Wiggins’ ‘mystery package’ doctor quits British Cycling

British Cycling is based at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester

British Cycling is based at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester

The doctor who received a ‘mystery package’ for Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2011 has resigned from British Cycling because of ill health.

Dr Richard Freeman is part of separate investigations by British Cycling and UK Anti Doping (Ukad) but has been off work with stress-related illness.

British Cycling said it had not been able to finalise its investigation.

But the body added it hopes to help Ukad bring their investigation to a “satisfactory conclusion”.

  • Unpicking confusion about ‘mystery package’

In a statement, British Cycling added: “We hope that upon his return to health, Richard can do his part to help bring to a close ongoing investigations.”

Chief executive Julie Harrington said Freeman was under investigation on “employment matters” while Ukad’s inquiry was related to “doping matters”.

“After some months we were ready to continue with disciplinary action,” Harrington told The Guardian. “Dr Freeman really wasn’t well enough to commence that and so we’ve allowed him to resign.”

Freeman has left the governing body without a financial settlement and was not asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. It is understood he has not been able to speak to British Cycling or Ukad about their inquiries at any point because of his ill health.

The ‘Mystery package’ – background

Wiggins, who won five Olympic gold medals on the road and track, received the ‘mystery package’ when competing for Team Sky on the final day of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine in France, an event he won.

Freeman, who was simultaneously employed by British Cycling and Team Sky between 2009 and 2015, has been criticised for not disclosing the contents of the package, stating his laptop containing such records was stolen in 2014.

Freeman did not attend a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing into the matter in February because of his ill-health.

But Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford told the hearing that Freeman had told him the package contained Fluimucil, an over-the-counter product which clears mucus and is legal in sport.

The chairman of the committee – MP Damian Collins – said after the 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%”.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41691267

Track star Archibald to join road racing team

Katie Archibald

Katie Archibald won gold in the women’s omnium at the Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong earlier this year

Scottish cyclist Katie Archibald will join road racing team Wiggle High5 in 2018.

Archibald, 23, will still compete on the track, but hopes to add road racing honours to her list of accomplishments.

“I’ve joined Wiggle High5 to take the next step in my professional career,” Archibald said.

“My targets and hopes for selection in a Wiggle High5 jersey include Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, Tour de Yorkshire and The Women’s Tour.”

Archibald has won two world titles and an Olympic gold medal as part of Great Britain’s track team, and insists her desire to test herself on the road has not diminished her appetite to win more medals in the velodrome.

“I have two major personal goals for 2018,” she added.

“The first is the track world championships in March, at Apeldoorn Velodrome, where I hope to defend my omnium title.

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Archibald (left) and Laura Trott celebrate winning team pursuit gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016

“Following this, in April, I hope to tackle both the track and road events at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. For the former of these I’ll be in a GB jersey and the latter a Scotland jersey.”

Elinor Barker, who alongside Archibald won gold in the team pursuit for Britain at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last summer, has also agreed to join Wiggle High5 next year.

“I’ve been following Katie’s career for the past four or five years and she has always been an athlete I’ve desired to work with,” said team owner Rochelle Gilmore.

“As her strength on the road has been developing year by year, her increasing desire to achieve road racing goals has been something Wiggle High5 really wanted to be a part of.

“While already an Olympic champion on the track, Katie is still an unknown talent on the road, we’ve seen glimpses of what she’s capable of and we look forward to providing her with the opportunity to recognise her full potential on the road.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41640516

La Course 2018: Women’s race reverts to one-day event

Lizzie Deignan, Annemiek van Vleuten and Elisa Longo Borghini

Annemiek van Vleuten (centre) beat Lizzie Deignan (left) and Elisa Longo Borghini to win La Course 2017

La Course by the Tour de France will revert to a one-day event for the fifth edition of the women’s race in 2018.

The 2017 edition, won by Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten, was held over two days, comprising a 67km mountainous stage followed by a 22.5km ‘chase’.

Next year’s event will be a 118km one-day race, a reduced version of stage 10 of the Tour, with both held on 17 July.

The first three editions of La Course were held in Paris before the final stage of the men’s Tour.

Organisers ASO added a mountain stage last year, which determined the time gaps the riders set off at behind the stage winner the following day – a format that Britain’s Lizzie Deignan, who finished second to Van Vleuten, said needed “tidying up”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41667310

Tour de France 2018 will be a massive challenge

Chris Froome

Froome became the third man to complete the Tour de France-Vuelta double in the same year by winning the races in 2017

Chris Froome says he faces a “massive challenge” to win his fifth Tour de France, as the route for the 2018 race was announced on Tuesday.

The 105th edition will run from 7 to 29 July and be the shortest route of the 21st century, covering 3,329km.

It will start with a 195km stage from Noirmoutier-en-L’ile and stage nine will include 21.7km of cobbled road.

There is a return for the famous climb and finish up Alpe d’Huez on stage 12 and the shortest stage will be 65km.

Stage three will be a team time trial and the penultimate stage could be a potentially crucial hilly individual time trial from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette.

“I wouldn’t expect anything different from the organisers,” said the 32-year-old, who has won the Tour in four of the last five years.

“It is a massive challenge for next year and a Tour de France that tests every aspect of cycling.”

Only 15km of the race will take place outside France, when it goes into Spain on stage 16.

“We especially wanted to emphasise stage variety and the routes that may prove decisive, whilst combining legendary climbs with brand-new ascensions or ultra-dynamic formats, to provide a vision of modern and inspired cycling,” said Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

At the announcement of the route, Froome was awarded the 2017 Velo d’Or – the Velo magazine rider of the year prize – for the third time after also claiming it in 2013 and 2015.

It is recognition of becoming the third man to win the Tour and Vuelta a Espana in the same year.

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The 2018 Tour de France route

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41649703

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