No let-up for Team Sky as key anti doping figures speak out

Posted on: January 9th, 2017

More questions are being asked about the information provided to date by Dave Brailsford, left (Photo: Pete Goding)


Another appearance before the parliamentary committee examining practices in Team Sky and British Cycling looks  likely for Dave Brailsford.

And Dr Richard Freeman, to whom a ‘jiffy bag’ with the decongestant Fluimucil was delivered in 2011, may also be called to answer questions, along with Simon Cope, the British Cycling coach who delivered the bag.

Cope has said he did not know what was in the bag at the time.

He added personnel being asked to take items to Team Sky when it was on the road and when the staff were travelling for other reasons was not unusual

The outgoing chairman of UK Anti Doping, David Kenworthy, has expressed his disappointment at the information given by Brailsford to the House of Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee last month.

And the Damian Collins MP, who chairs the committee, said he was determined to ask more questions.

“Team Sky need to set out how they used Fluimucil, how often and for what purposes,” Collins told The Observer.

“British Cycling should also be in a position to state whether this was a drug they routinely kept in their stores and was it regularly supplied to Team Sky.”

Kenworthy said he was disappointed that Brailsford had no direct knowledge of what was in the bag and was simply providing information on the basis of what Dr Freeman had told him.

“There’s still no definite answer from anyone who was involved. I still don’t know what was in there; I’m no nearer finding out than you are,” Kenworthy told the BBC.

“People could remember a package that was delivered to France, they can remember who asked for it, they can remember the route it took, who delivered it, the times it arrived.

“The select committee has got expense sheets and travel documents.

“So everybody can remember this from five years ago, but no-one can remember what was in the package. That strikes me as being extraordinary. It is very disappointing.”

He also said he would have thought Team Sky would have a record of what was in the bag taken to its personnel. And he also felt it was unusual that Cope did not know what was in the bag.

“Here’s an individual who’s carrying a package containing medicine across international boundaries, and he’s no idea what’s in them,” he said of Cope.

“One could say he could be putting himself at risk if they are drugs which one could not properly transport. Someone should be inquisitive enough to say: ‘Well what is it I’m actually taking?’”

He then added of the controversy: “We’re not giving up on this, and we’ll dig and delve and find out what was in that package.”

Damian Collins MP, the acting chairman of the Commons’ committee examining the issues at the centre of the case, said it seemed clear there was no paper trail Team Sky or British Cycling could provide to support the contention the bag contained Fluimucil.

He pointed out all that was available by way of evidence was the word of Dr Freeman, to whom the bag was delivered for administering to Wiggins.

“There’s no evidence to back that up,” said Collins of the lack of any paper trail.

“The question that poses is how can you know you’re operating at the standards you expect of your team and the ethics of policing the use of drugs that you want them to be if you’ve got no evidence of what the doctors are administering to cyclists.

“The whole story doesn’t look good and it’s a story that has evolved over several months now.

“The team doctor should keep medical records of the drugs he’s administering to cyclists in and out of competition and I can only imagine those documents, if they do exist – and they should exist – have not been shared with UK anti-doping authorities. And if they were this could clear up this one way or another.”

Since the last Commons’ committee hearing, it has emerged that Chris Froome –the current leader of Team Sky – had received injections of Fluimucil for recovery purposes before he joined the team.

That occurred around 2008, long before injections for recovery purposes were banned by the UCI, and when Froome was with Barloworld.

By the time the medicine was delivered to Team Sky, in June 2011, the kind of injections Froome had received in 2008 had just been banned under the UCI’s ‘no needles’ policy, though the actual substance Fluimucil is not banned and never has been.

And now MP Collins wants more information about Team Sky’s and British Cycling’s general use of Fluimucil.

In October the Daily Mail put queries to Team Sky about a ‘jiffy bag’ delivered to the team in France on the final day of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, which Bradley Wiggins won overall.

Team Sky decided to refer the matter to British Cycling so that UK Anti Doping could examine it.

However, it was not until last month’s Commons’ hearing that Brailsford offered an explanation for what was in the bag. He said it was Fluimucil; a substance he said was used in a nebuliser to break up mucus.

Brailsford conceded he was supplying the information about the contents of the bag only on the basis of what Dr Freeman had told him.

He was unable to furnish any written record to support his evidence and said he was not aware of the product being delivered at the time in question in 2011.