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  • barry davies

    excellant !!!

  • Spartacus

    Love it. Keep digging and the truth will inevitably come out.

  • Wily_Quixote

    Very interesting read. In these days of TL;DR it is great to have a longform article where the writer lets the subject tell their story in full.
    Also a great account of journalistic ethics and the perils of getting close to the subject.
    Looking forward to the podcast and to how the rest of this story unfolds.

  • andyoldlabour

    Back in 2012, I was on holiday in Sorrento, and it was so hot that the OH and me went back to the hotel. She slept whilst I turned on the TV, and caught the stage where Froomey did his naughty bit, and obviously thought about distancing Brad on the climb. Fast forward to the final day in Paris, and I couldn’t believe that I was witnessing our first winner of the TdF.
    Now, as before in cycling we have the disclosures, far more subtle this time than the “Festina affair” and the Lance Armstrong scandal, but huge none the less for the cycling fans.
    I have cheared on Team GB on the track and Team Sky on the road, but there is obviously something very wrong here.

  • DaveRides

    As much as I’m not generally a fan of the Daily Mail, I have massive respect for Lawton’s work on this one.

    Hopefully the departure of certain personnel from the UCI will allow the pace to pick up on properly addressing this case.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    This guy could be the UK’s David Walsh……..uh…wait…what ever happened to that tireless opponent of cheating? A real tiger in the BigTex case, but a lamb when it comes to SKY? Meanwhile, where’s the UK’s Travis Tygart?

    • velocite

      I don’t know anything about UKAD, but Travis Tygart didn’t get anywhere until after the FDA had winkled out witnesses under threat of perjury.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        No argument there – but is there ANYONE in the UK with the bollocks(?) to take on this fraud?

  • Cruz er

    Great piece in helping clarify what happened and when. Thank you CT!

  • Commonly Canine

    Why would Freeman have injected Wiggins with triamcinolone in back of a team bus – a semi-public place – after the race when it was illegal, when all he had to do was wait until midnight when it was out of competition? What sense does that make? Why would you not just wait until the next day when it could be done legally and in privacy? I’ve never understood this. Why?

    • will59

      It could be just simple hubris. Wouldn’t be the first time that someone was tripped up simply because they thought they were untouchable. Team Sky knew they had Sky and BC in their corner and that UKAD was essentially toothless. Maybe what they didn’t count on was a journalist of Matt’s abilities and determination going after them.
      For sure there’s a lot of crappy “journalism” out there and people are right to trash the industry in many cases, but we need many, many more people like Matt doing this type of work.

    • Rodrigo Diaz

      Why would you lie about Emma Pooley when she was easily located in another country? And why would you give false testimony about Wiggings not being in the bus when there’s a photo right there?

      Maybe we give these people too much credit. or maybe they get away with so much that they feel nothing will happen to them. Or maybe both.

  • homeofcobbles

    Great read and insight – thanks for this! If not a circle of lies yet, it’s certainly lies enough to make you lose faith. Combined with the alienation of critical journalists that has been seen before, it’s a bleak picture that is being drawn.

  • Patrick Murphy

    This is a great read, certainly no fan of the paper but as mentioned below you can’t knock Matt Lawtons work here. This is not gutter press stuff this is proper journalism and should be commended.

  • Drum Stig

    excellent piece

  • Sam Hocking

    Shame Lawton didn’t discuss why the Team Sky whistleblower’s anonymous letter to the committee claims the package contained Fluimicil + needles to inject it as an anti-oxident, yet Lawton’s whisteblower claims it was Triamcinolone in the package? Both claim different substances? The Team Sky whistleblower’s comments went far beyond the package going out of his way to tell the committee iMark Cavendish flying to Freeman for legal IV recovery, implicates Nicole Cooke’s personal coach Fabio Bartolucci being employed for his IV recovery, IV training in South Africa etc etc. Clearly one and/or both the whistleblowers claims of what was in the package is not correct at least anyway.

    • Wily_Quixote

      There may be more than one whistleblower.

      • Sam Hocking

        Perhaps, but the Team Sky whistleblower is talking to the committee about the same package delivered that Lawton’s whistleblower is. Just seems odd that their stories don’t match in terms of what UKAD investigated. One of them is wrong or both of them were not in a position to know exactly the contents of the package it seems to me, so how credible is their blowing?

        • Shane Stokes

          Q: how would the committee know it’s the same person, and not someone trying to sidetrack the committee? If the whistleblower Matt Lawton spoke to is anonymous, anyone could contact the commitee and claim to be the same person. Perhaps they have been able to verify it, perhaps not, but I think it’s crucial that they do before they take it at face value. The UCI also has a no needles policy, so any injection should be against the rules unless it was a) essential and b) reported to the UCI.

          • Sam Hocking

            Sidetrack them to achieve what? It certainly doesn’t read like a sidetrack and i’m not claiming they are the same person, that is the whole argument.
            The committee are not UKAD, WADA or CAS and the whisteblower to the Committee states they claim to be a Sky insider anyway? The Committee will not be deciding anything other than what goes into their Blood doping in athletics inquiry final report, unless a new inquiry is started for Sky. UKAD were already investigating for the previous several months too.

            “Dear Damian

            Subject: Team Sky British Cycling ethics and practice

            As you can understand i am writing this email anonymously, i have been driven to write this because i was very disappointed by Dave B’s and Shane’s interviews with the select committee. I understand that Richard Freeman and Simon Cope have been invited for interview. I would like to provide you with some information that you may not be aware of.

            I am providing information as a Sky insider unfortunately a lot of things i am saying will be difficult to substantiate without admission from Sky but hopefully will provide you with information that you may be able to get closer to the full truth.

            To start with we need to look at the medical team at Sky and the ethics with in the team.

            2010, two Dr’s, David Hulse and Richard Freeman, both came from a non cycling background, Dr Steve Peters was head of medicine. The senior riders complained that the team did not do IV recovery. The thought at the time by some riders and some cycling Dr’s was IV recovery was essential to cope with Grand tours. Dr David refused to give IV recovery and was sidelined for the 2010 TdF Richard Freeman was sent on a ‘secrete’ visit to South Africa to meet experts on recovery he agreed to give ‘recovery’ and worked the Tour. At the end of the season Dr David was sacked (paid off) publicly this was ascribed to the death of Txema. The team then engaged Fabio Bartolucci (interestingly he had been the personal coach of Nicole Cooke) and Geert Leinders. Fabio was brought in because he had special expertise in IV recovery and was reputed to being paid 200k for 100 days. In 2011 the needles ban came in just before the Giro and Fabio left quickly after that. At this time IV recovery was not a banned practice and it is only banned now in competition time.

            Dave B has always looked at how the medical team can support performance in 2015 he hired Roger Palfreeman as a race Dr with a special focus on performance. Interestingly Roger had previously worked with UK anti doping and reported that they had a file on Dr Freeman questioning some of his practice. Up until recently Dr Freeman still provided some work for Sky and is the BC Dr. He still uses injectable recovery for the endurance track squad such as B12 but not during competition so no rules are broken this was not given on medical grounds

            The controversy of the ‘Jiffy’ bag at the end of the 2011 Dauphine is simple this was just after the needles ban came in place earlier that year it was stated that individuals including Dr’s being caught at cycle races with injectable equipment could face up to a 5 years prison sentence. The offence is only committed if used in ‘competition’ time if used the day after it is not an offence. The Jiffy bag would have contained flumacil as reported but it would also have contained needles and other injectable recovery products such as B12. As was reported flumacil can be used as a decongestant but in suspension it as also been injected, flumacil is a simple amino acid (n-actylecystine) which is essential for glutathione syntheses which is a powerful intracellular antioxidant and can aid recovery.

            Under the current rules i do not think that there as been a breach however i do believe that TUE’s were used tactically by the team to support the health of a rider with an ultimate aim of supporting performance. At that time there were regular rider review meetings and all details of the rider were discussed medical confidentiality was wavered (this is common practice in sport) and the seriousness of Brad’s allergies were not discussed. The use of the Triamcinolone acetonide was never discussed in these meetings however it had been discussed out side of the rider review meetings as a general discussion because it had been used for years in cycling and the consensus was it would be in appropriate to use.

            In 2012 The team was under extreme pressure to perform Dave B and Shane Sutton put a great deal of pressure on the medical team in particular Richard Freeman to provide more proactive medical support. Using TUE’s was openly discussed in hushed voices as a means of supporting health and wellbeing.

            During the 2012 TDF the Dr for the race was Allan Farrel he accompanied the British Road Team to the Fox Hills Resort to provide medical support for the squad during the camp which was used as the pre-olympic holding camp for the road Team. Richard Freeman was with the track Team. In between the end of the Tour de France and the start of the Olympics Mark Cavendish charted a private flight from Franham airport to see Richard for recovery. Again this was outside competition time so it was not illegal, but the ethics are very questionable.

            Steve Peters was fully aware of every thing that was going on regarding the medical team at that time and interestingly for the London Olympics he was on the medical committee that approved TUE’s .

            Simon Cope unfortunately is just an unwitting porn in this, it is common practice to carry sealed packages around, however people are usually asked to take things when they are already traveling. The controversy here is Simon was sent as a specific courier. At that time the culture was if Shane told people to do something you just did it.

            At the committee interview Shane hid behind trusting the medical team this is utter nonsense he directed the medical team he constantly bullied Richard Freeman”

            April 2017

  • pedr09

    Great article.

  • Slapparoo

    Its interesting that Simon Cope has portrayed himself as an innocent, just trying to help out sort of guy. I thought the lie about Simon Cope visiting Emma Pooley had come from Brailsford, knowing now that that lie origionated from Cope himself and that Cope felt the need to lie about his movements very strongly implies that he also knew what was in the package. UKAD needs to pass the information on to French customs Authorities who I am sure would be very interested to know that Simon Cope was importing undeclared medications, not for person use, across an international border, then we can have an organisation with some real teeth start to investigate, and shortly there after we will all know exactly what was in the package.

    • jules

      it was most likely steroids for which Sky apparently had no authorisation to administer to its athlete/s.

      we all know Sky’s story doesn’t make sense and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s when people lie that’s because they know the truth will hurt them

  • Neuron1

    Outstanding reporting!

  • Bert

    What a great interview – very candid

  • Thing is, the UKAD closed the investigation, finding that Sky did nothing against the rules. It’s the utterly perfect example to summarize the problems with this sport’s oversight.

    This interview is fantastic, and it summarizes DB’s desperate game of whack-a-mole. I mean, some of his interviews would be painful to watch if I wasn’t convinced that rules were bent to the absolute brink. Hat off, Sky: why stand in violation when there’s a way to stay in the game. That’s the ideal, isn’t it?

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