Wednesday 22 November 2017

Team Sky confident of 'no wrongdoing' as UKAD announce probe into allegations

Bradley Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins

Matt McGeehan

Team Sky are "confident there has been no wrongdoing" after UK Anti-Doping announced it is examining "allegations" within cycling.

The UKAD announcement came as the Daily Mail reported the anti-doping authority is investigating Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins over the contents of a medical package.

The newspaper alleges a package was delivered to Team Sky in France on June 12, 2011, and it reports that UKAD is looking at what that contained.

Press Association Sport understands that Wiggins and his representatives have received no notification from UKAD and believe the 36-year-old is not a subject of the investigation.

Team Sky believe there has been nothing untoward involving the team after conducting an internal review. Team Sky are in communication with British Cycling, the national governing body, and UKAD.

A statement from UKAD, which is dedicated to protecting a culture of clean sport, later on Friday reflected that more than one claim was being looked at.

A spokeswoman for UKAD said in a statement: "UK Anti-Doping is investigating allegations of wrongdoing within cycling. In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we will not comment further."

UKAD did not go into any detail about the allegations and mentioned no names, but concerns on Thursday were raised about the availability of controversial and powerful painkiller Tramadol among the Great Britain team at the 2012 Road Cycling World Championships.

Tramadol is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's monitoring list, with concerns over its side effects.

Some members of the peloton believe its use has contributed to crashes and former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke claimed it was being offered "freely" around the British team in Limburg, Holland, four years ago.

Many riders and staff members have had, and some continue to have, dual roles with British Cycling and Team Sky. For example, Sir Dave Brailsford left his role as performance director of British Cycling to concentrate solely on Team Sky in April 2014.

Team Sky on Friday said in a statement: "Team Sky was contacted by the Daily Mail regarding an allegation of wrongdoing.

"We take any issues such as this very seriously and immediately conducted an internal review to establish the facts. We are confident there has been no wrongdoing.

"We informed British Cycling of the allegation and asked them to contact UKAD, who we will continue to liaise with.

"Team Sky is committed to clean competition. Our position on anti-doping is well known and we 100 per cent stand by that."

Press Association Sport understands the UKAD investigation did not originate from a source within Team Sky or British Cycling.

The Daily Mail reported that while British Cycling did not identify the substance in the package, the national governing body indicated it did not contain triamcinolone.

According to documents leaked by Russian hacker group Fancy Bears, Wiggins had a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for triamcinolone acetonide - a synthetic corticosteroid - which was effective from June 29, 2011. Any use of a banned substance requires an active TUE.

Wiggins won the Dauphine Libere stage race - now known as the Criterium du Dauphine - on the day the package was reportedly delivered, completing victory in the eight-day event after the final stage from Pontcharra to La Toussuire.

It was Wiggins' biggest road success to date and was one of the favourites for the 2011 Tour, only to suffer a fractured collarbone on stage seven.

He became the first British winner of the Tour a year later.

It is the latest story which raises questions for Team Sky and Brailsford.

Wiggins and Team Sky have strenuously denied any wrongdoing since it emerged the five-time Olympic champion has received six TUEs during his career, insisting each time the exemptions were medically necessary due to asthma and pollen allergies.

Wiggins used the powerful anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone - a substance which has a history of abuse in cycling - on the eve of the 2011 and 2012 Tours and 2013 Giro d'Italia.

Wiggins applied for, and was granted, three TUEs to take the drug to deal with a pollen allergy that aggravates his long-standing asthma condition.

The TUEs were approved by the UCI, cycling's world governing body, and there is no suggestion that he or the team have broken any rules.

Tiernan-Locke was sacked by Team Sky in 2014 and served a two-year ban for an anti-doping infringement, which expired early this year.

He was stripped of the 2012 Tour of Britain title for an anomaly relating to his biological passport, but denies doping.

The 31-year-old claimed he was offered Tramadol while representing Britain at the 2012 Road Cycling World Championships.

"I wasn't in any pain so I didn't need to take it, and that was offered freely around," Tiernan-Locke told the BBC.

Sources within British Cycling say the team doctor from the event denies the claim.

Team Sky in 2014 insisted none of their riders used Tramadol after comments from former rider Michael Barry in his autobiography.

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