British Cycling confirm UKAD investigation into ‘allegations of wrongdoing’

Dr Richard Freeman not travelling to Doha for UCI Road World Championships

British Cycling have confirmed Great Britain team doctor Dr Richard Freeman has not traveled to Doha for the UCI Road World Championships, as a UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of wrongdoing continues.

Freeman was the Team Sky doctor who initiated Sir Bradley Wiggins’ TUEs for triamcinolone in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – as revealed by the ‘Fancy Bears’ data hack.

And it has also been revealed in a series of articles in the Daily Mail that Freeman received a ‘mystery medical package’ at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine from British Cycling’s Simon Cope – now a directeur sportif at Team Wiggins.

British Cycling have since confirmed – in a very short statement  – that a UKAD investigation has begun, with both the national governing body and Team Sky promising to co-operate fully. The investigation has also prompted the decision for Freeman to stay at home.

Bradley Wiggins won the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011, but questions have been raised about a ‘mystery medical package’ delivered by British Cycling to Team Sky after the race (pic: Sirotti)

“This was a decision jointly reached by the team management and Richard,” a British Cycling statement read. “The riders in Doha will instead be supported by the UCI medical team at the worlds, alongside the usual Great Britain cycling team support staff.”

UKAD investigators have already visited the National Cycling Centre in Manchester to investigate the allegations of wrongdoing.

Though portrayed by some as a ‘raid’, Team Sky issued a statement to deny that was the case, reiterating their commitment to clean competition.

“Some newspapers this morning [Saturday] have reported that Team Sky and British Cycling were ‘raided’ by UKAD,” read the Team Sky statement.

“This was not the case. UKAD have confirmed that attended a meeting with British Cycling at the velodrome in Manchester with their full co-operation.

“We welcome this investigation as we are confident there has been no wrongdoing. We take these issues seriously and we will co-operate fully with UKAD.”

The Daily Mail also reported a series of conversations with Sir Dave Brailsford, which included the Team Sky director claiming Cope’s visit to the Dauphine in 2011 was to see Emma Pooley – who was in fact racing in Spain at the time.

Further allegations against Freeman include an interview former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke gave to the BBC.

In it, Tiernan-Locke claimed the controversial painkiller tramadol was given out freely to British riders at the 2012 UCI Road World Championship – though Tiernan-Locke said he refused it.

Tiernan-Locke was Britain’s best-placed rider that year, finishing 19th, but both his result at the worlds and his Tour of Britain win earlier the same month were expunged when he was banned for two years for biological passport irregularities.

Former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has questioned the timing of Sir Bradley Wiggins’ TUEs (Pic: Sirotti)

Freeman, on the other hand, has denied Tiernan-Locke’s allegations, according to BBC Sport.

The allegations also follow the controversy surrounding the use of TUEs in the professional peloton, which – while fully within the laws of cycling – have been questioned on moral grounds.

Wiggins applied for TUEs for triamcinolone ahead of the 2011 Tour de France, 2012 Tour de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia in order to combat asthma and pollen-related allergies.

However, questions have been asked – including by Tiernan-Locke – as to why it was only ever ahead of the Grand Tours that Wiggins needed the TUE.

Wiggins himself has countered such criticism by reiterating the therapeutic use exemptions were approved by both British authorities and the UCI.

Tiernan-Locke says tramadol was freely offered to the British riders at the 2012 UCI Road World Championships (pic: Sirotti)

He told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “This was to cure a medical condition. This wasn’t about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage.

“This was about putting myself back on a level playing-field in order to compete at the highest level.”

A UKAD spokeswoman confirmed the investigations into Team Sky and British Cycling, stating: “UK Anti-Doping is investigating allegations of wrongdoing within cycling.

“In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we will not comment further.”

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