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by Shane Stokes
July 22, 2018
Photography by Cor Vos
Months after a UK parliamentary committee concluded that Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky had exploited TUE rules to gain a legal but unethical advantage, the 2012 Tour winner has hinted that persons unnamed had acted in a sinister manner.
“There are things that have come to light with this whole thing, that we’ve found out since, that are quite scary actually. It’s very sinister,” he said, speaking on ITV4’s coverage of the Tour de France.
“We’re still not at the bottom of it, we’re finding new stuff out daily to do with the package that never was and all this stuff and it’s quite frightening actually.”
Wiggins’ reference to a package relates to the allegations that a medical delivery was made from Manchester via Switzerland to the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. The contends of this package were reportedly administered to Wiggins by the team doctor Richard Freeman.
Although Team Sky has already acknowledged that then-British Cycling employee Simon Cope did indeed transport a medical product to Wiggins, something which team Principal Dave Brailsford told the parliamentary committee was the legal decongestant Fluimicil, the rider appeared to state that no such package existed.
He was vague on details but spoke of conspiracies against him or the team.
“We’re still working on it, still trying to piece it all together. Not a legal team, just other people coming to us now and saying, ‘You know this has happened, don’t you?’
“We can debate TUEs and that’s one thing, but where it went after that with everything else – there is a film to be made there. God yeah, I’d love it to all come out. Once it’s all stacked up and pieced together, it’s quite shocking.”
Wiggins suggested that he knew those who were involved. “There are a few people bricking it at the moment. I know that for sure,” he said. “I hope it comes out of its own accord. But it is in certain people’s interest for it not to come out, and to get buried. We’ll see. It’s all gone very quiet at the moment.”
Two years ago the Russian hackers Fancy Bears leaked information which showed that Wiggins used the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone prior to the 2011 and 2012 Tours, plus the 2013 Giro d’Italia. This and the jiffy bag allegations were explored by the parliamentary committee, plus UK Anti-Doping. UKAD dropped the case because the team’s medical records were missing, but the parliamentary select committee was highly critical of the team in March.
“From the evidence that has been received by the committee regarding the use of triamcinolone at Team Sky during the period under investigation, and particularly in 2012, we believe that this powerful corticosteroid was being used to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France,” the committee concluded.
“The purpose of this was not to treat medical need, but to improve his power to weight ratio ahead of the race. The application for the TUE for the triamcinolone for Bradley Wiggins, ahead of the 2012 Tour de France, also meant that he benefited from the performance enhancing properties of this drug during the race.”
While the committee said that such use did not constitute a violation of the WADA code, it said that it did “cross the ethical line that David Brailsford says he himself drew for Team Sky.
“In this case, and contrary to the testimony of David Brailsford in front of the Committee, we believe that drugs were being used by Team Sky, within the WADA rules, to enhance the performance of riders, and not just to treat medical need.”
There have been repeated calls by some for TUEs to be made public. Wiggins rejected this on Saturday. “I don’t think publishing riders’ TUEs would help, as some people will have embarrassing things they don’t want out there,” he said. “What if a rider has an affair and gets a sexually transmitted disease and there is medication for that on his records?”