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by Shane Stokes
December 22, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
Dave Brailsford, Shane Sutton and two senior British Cycling officials may have already given evidence this week to British parliament, but it has emerged that they or other witnesses may be required to appear again at a later date.
According to various British media sources including the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, questions have arisen about Brailsford’s testimony before the Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Monday.
The Team Sky principal was questioned about the administration of a normally-banned corticosteroid to Wiggins in 2011, 2012 and 2013, including before his 2012 Tour victory. Wiggins acquired a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) permitting the use of triamcinolone acetonide, but questions have nevertheless been raised about this.
Several riders who doped in the past said they used the same substance under TUEs for performance enhancement. Wiggins and Team Sky have insisted that he was badly affected by allergies and asthma and that more usual courses of treatment were not enough.
Brailsford was also asked about the delivery of a package from Manchester to the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race in France in 2011. The delivery of the bag was revealed by the Daily Mail in October but neither Wiggins nor the team would reveal the contents until Monday.
Brailsford finally stated that it contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil.
During Monday’s hearing questioners told Brailsford that one way to verify what Wiggins had taken would be for him to disclose his medical records.
“You’re absolutely right,” Brailsford told Damian Collins, the committee chairman. “And my understanding is they have been made available to UKAD.”
“If for any reason they hadn’t, would you urge them to be made available?” Collins asked.
“They have been,” Brailsford repeated. “My understanding is they have been.”
However according to the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and others, UK Anti Doping has not been given the records. Because of this, UKAD has been unable to confirm if Fluimucil was indeed the product in question.
Collins has indicated that he is concerned by suggestions by the Daily Mail that Brailsford tried to get the newspaper to drop the article about the transported package in return for either a more positive story about the team or information on a rival team using TUEs to win races.
“We need to know when [Brailsford] knew what was in the package, and why he sought to close down a perfectly legitimate inquiry,” Collins said on Tuesday night. “Brailsford needs to explain what he knew and when – and why he didn’t tell [The Daily Mail] what was in the package when he was first asked.”
In a statement released earlier on Tuesday, Team Sky didn’t address the claims that Brailsford tried to get the Daily Mail to drop the story.
“Dave gave public evidence to the Select Committee yesterday for an hour as part of their inquiry into anti-doping,” stated the team.
“As we have always said we believe what is most important if for UKAD to establish the truth independently. We are confident that when they report it will be clear that there has been no wrongdoing.
“During the Committee session, Dave acknowledged once again his own mistakes in handling the issue over recent months.”
“We are continuing to co-operate fully with UKAD and we look forward to their report.”
Collins said he hoped that UKAD would issue its report early in the new year, and said that the committee may either recall witnesses or summon new ones to appear.
“We will monitor UKAD’s report closely, and if we feel we can find out extra information we will look at interviewing Simon Cope. We are also open to calling people back to ask them further questions. At this stage we are not ruling anything out.”
Current Team Sky leader Chris Froome previously suggested to the journalist Paul Kimmage that he may have been injected with Fluimucil while racing with the Barloworld team.
Medical studies have shown that the oral consumption of N-acetyl-cysteine, the main constituent of Fluimucil, boosts the natural production of EPO.