Team Sky chief faces ques­tions over mys­tery pack­age

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bri­tish Sports min­is­ter Tracey Crouch on Sun­day said Team Sky boss Dave Brails­ford faces “some ex­tremely im­por­tant ques­tions” about a mys­tery pack­age that is the sub­ject of a UK An­tiDop­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Brails­ford is one of six wit­nesses ap­pear­ing be­fore the Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport se­lect com­mit­tee in West­min­ster to­day as part of its long-run­ning in­quiry into sport’s fight against dop­ing.

The com­mit­tee will ask Brails­ford about Olympic cham­pion Bradley Wig­gins’ ther­a­peu­tic use ex­emp­tions (TUEs) - which are es­sen­tially doc­tor’s notes to al­low ath­letes to use medicine that would oth­er­wise be banned by the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency - and the pack­age which was de­liv­ered to Team Sky by a Bri­tish Cy­cling em­ployee at the end of a key pre-Tour de France race in 2011. Leaked WADA doc­u­ments re­vealed in Septem­ber that Wig­gins was granted TUEs to use the pow­er­ful cor­ti­cos­teroid tri­am­ci­nolone be­fore races in 2011, 2012 and 2013. And in Oc­to­ber, it was re­ported that a “Jiffy bag” con­tain­ing tri­am­ci­nolone was de­liv­ered to Team Sky doc­tor Richard Free­man, who now works for Bri­tish Cy­cling, by the then-GB women’s team man­ager and academy coach Si­mon Cope at the fi­nal stage of the 2011 Dauphine Libere.

Shortly af­ter this al­le­ga­tion was re­ported, UKAD an­nounced it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged “wrong­do­ing” at Team Sky and cy­cling’s na­tional gov­ern­ing body, with its in­ves­ti­ga­tors vis­it­ing the pair’s head­quar­ters in Manch­ester, tak­ing doc­u­ments and in­ter­view­ing all rel­e­vant wit­nesses. Brails­ford, Bri­tish Cy­cling, Cope, Free­man and Wig­gins have strongly de­nied break­ing any anti-dop­ing rules but no­body has re­vealed the con­tents of the pack­age, de­spite Brails­ford and Bri­tish Cy­cling say­ing it was not tri­am­ci­nolone, which the for­mer Tour de France cham­pion would not have been al­lowed to take at that time.

Speak­ing to BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek pro­gramme, Crouch said she would be fol­low­ing the com­mit­tee hear­ing with “great in­ter­est” as she believes “it is re­ally im­por­tant all sports are com­pletely trans­par­ent” about their anti-dop­ing prac­tices.

“If we want to con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful in cy­cling, and to en­cour­age more peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in cy­cling, it is im­por­tant that the wit­nesses are trans­par­ent in the an­swers they give,” Crouch said. “Brails­ford will be asked some ex­tremely im­por­tant ques­tions and he will have to jus­tify him­self and his ac­tions, and it’s not for me as sports min­is­ter to say oth­er­wise.”

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