UKAD CEO reveals Team Sky doctor’s poor record keeping and ‘excessive’ corticosteroid orders

Dr Richard Freeman criticised for lack of medical records; Nicole Sapstead claims more triamcinolone ordered than was covered by TUEs

UK Anti-Doping CEO Nicole Sapstead has revealed investigations into ‘allegations of wrongdoing’ at British Cycling and Team Sky have uncovered an excess of triamcinolone being ordered by the national governing body.

Sapstead appeared before the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s select committee to discuss doping in sport and the ongoing investigation into the mystery package delivered to Team Sky at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

A previous hearing saw Sir Dave Brailsford tell the committee the package contained the decongestant fluimicil, according to Dr Richard Freeman – something Dr Freeman has also told UKAD.

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)

However, Sapstead revealed investigations by UKAD have found Freeman has no records to back his claim, and also ordered an excess of the restricted corticosteroid triamcinolone, which the Fancy Bears data hack revealed Wiggins had a TUE to use prior to three Grand Tours.

“Specifically in relation to Bradley Wiggins, there was far more than needed,” Sapstead revealed. “I can’t speculate about how it was used, and whether it was in or out of competition [but] my understanding is triamcinolone is considered, not a serious product, but something you don’t treat conditions with lightly.

“For that reason you would either think there was an excessive amount of it for one person or quite a few people had a similar problem.

“It’s difficult because of a lack of records to see what duration these orders were lasting for.”

Sapstead was highly critical of the poor record-keeping of some Team Sky and British Cycling doctors, Freeman included, claiming it contradicted the team’s ethos of being clean and transparent.

“It’s very difficult at any given time to see what is being prescribed when Dir Freeman is acting on behalf of British Cycling or Team Sky,” she said, adding that Freeman – who did not upload his records to a Dropbox as was policy – had his laptop stolen in 2014.

She added: “Team Sky did have a policy of keeping records, just not everyone was adhering to it.

“I would expect for a professional road cycling team that was founded on the premise of exhibiting that racing could be conducted cleanly, not to have records that would be able to demonstrate that infers to the contrary.”


Simon Cope delivered the package, having taken it from Manchester, flown to Geneva and then driven to the race, but reiterated he did not know what it contained (pic: Simon Wilkinson/

Sapstead confirmed UKAD had been in contact with the General Medical Council to discuss the matter and the poor record keeping.

Sapstead also told the committee Wiggins had spoken to UKAD, and stated he was administered fluimicil via a nebuliser after the final stage of the Dauphine.

Sapstead was one of two people to appear before the committee on Wednesday (March 1), alongside Simon Cope – but while Dr Richard Freeman had also been due to appear, he missed the hearing due to illness.

Cope is the man who delivered the package to Freeman at the Dauphine, flying it over from Manchester and then driving from Geneva.

He has always maintained he did not know what was in the package, despite passing through airport security – and repeated the claim before the committee despite their questioning as to why he would not have asked about the package.

“If a guy in the street gave me a package, I think I would be suspicious,” he said. “But this is our national governing body, I had no reason to be suspicious at all.

“I don’t know whether it was normal practice, I was just asked to take the package and didn’t know what was in it.

“I didn’t think it was anything to worry about. I trusted my colleagues.”


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