For as long as the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture Media and Sport has held hearings titled “combatting doping in sport”, there has been a curious disconnect between the item that became its focal point – a so-called ‘mystery medical package’ – and the man to whom its contents were administered, Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Since Russian hackers Fancy Bears leaked his use of the powerful corticosteroid Triamcinolone under TUE before the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia, Wiggins has remained aloof from the rapid descent into chaos by his former employers at British Cycling and Team Sky.
He has also remained above the opprobrium heaped upon them, and with good reason. A reputation so hard won as Wiggins’ should not be treated lightly, especially by politicians, who, given the revelations of the expenses scandal, and the routine examples of self-interest and incompetence that fill the pages of Private Eye every fortnight, are ill-placed to sit in judgment upon anyone.
Once again, however, cycling is the “doping sport” in the eyes of the mainstream media, and unpalatable as it might be to the cycling fan, British Cycling, Team Sky, and, yes, even Wiggins, have made a hash of the entire process, from the Select Committee hearings to the report that was their foundation: a UK Anti-Doping investigation into “an allegation of wrongdoing within cycling”. The questions they have faced are genuine, even if their answers have been hapless.