Thursday 22 August 2019

'Lies, bullying and harassment' - The British cycling saga set to reach new levels

General Manager of Team Sky David Brailsford gives evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee
General Manager of Team Sky David Brailsford gives evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee

Tom Carey

The pressure on British Cycling, already huge after MPs questioned its governance and handling of recent crises on Monday, has intensified with one former coach recalling a culture of “lies, bullying and harassment” at cycling’s national governing body.

Ken Matheson suggested on Twitter that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement when he left the governing body - thought to be back in 2003 – but said he is “talking now and sod the gagging clause!”

He added that he had given a long statement to the independent inquiry looking into the culture at British Cycling and which is expected to report next month; including claims of “lies, bullying, harassment, wrongful dismissal of staff, financial misconduct etc...”

Meanwhile, it is understood that British Cycling will report back to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee this week on the medical package flown out to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné by one of its staff, as it promised to do at Monday’s hearing in Westminster.

UK Anti-Doping is carrying out an independent investigation into the package. Cycling’s ­governing body has so far kept out of that investigation in accordance with UKAD guidelines but is now seeking clarity from UKAD over what it can and cannot do in terms of investigating itself.

Team Sky and British Cycling are under pressure from Parliament to provide documents to support Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford’s claim that the package contained nothing more than a decongestant.


British cycling - The unanswered questions

What was in the jiffy bag?

Questions regarding the mysterious medical package couriered by a British Cycling employee out to Team Sky on the final day of the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 will be central to today’s hearing.

Why has UKAD been unable to establish the contents of the package after 10 weeks?

Brailsford claimed 10 weeks ago that he had been told what the medication was and that UKAD would clear Sky in due course. Why are we still waiting? Where is their proof?

Was the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky too cosy?

It would appear there were serious procedural failings here; employees carrying out packages without knowing their contents, a lack of documentation/accountability.

Was it really medically appropriate for Wiggins/Sky to apply for TUEs for intramuscular injections of the corticosteroid triamcinolone in 2011, 2012 and 2013?

A number of doctors describe this drug as a ‘last resort’ to treat asthma and pollen allergies, while former dopers David Millar and Jorg Jaksche have claimed it was a significant aid to performance.

How do you explain the discrepancies in dates on the TUE forms?

The 2011 application was approved by the UCI on June 29, three days before the start of the Tour, but the endoscopy to confirm Wiggins was suffering from rhinitis only took place on July 2.

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