Pressure mounting on Brailsford
Ukad head calls Sky chief’s evidence ‘extraordinary’ Contents of transported Jiffy bag still to be verified
The pressure on Team Sky’s embattled principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, has been ratcheted up still further with David Kenworthy, the outgoing chairman of UK Anti-Doping, warning that his organisation “will not give up” until it has found out what was in the package flown out to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.
In a dramatic intervention in the long-running saga, Kenworthy said the evidence given to a parliamentary select committee last month by Brailsford and other cycling chiefs was far from convincing, describing it as “extraordinary” and “very disappointing”.
Brailsford told a select committee last month that he had been told by Team Sky’s doctor that the Jiffy bag contained a legal decongestant called Fluimucil. However, three months after launching its investigation, Ukad has still not been able to verify that claim, and MPs are threatening to hold another hearing as the questions become more insistent.
Kenworthy, who has been chairman of Ukad since its establishment in 2009, told the BBC that the testimony given to MPs by Brailsford, his former coach Shane Sutton, and British Cycling’s president, Bob Howden, was “very disappointing” – in particular, he said, the inability of anyone to recall exactly what was in the package.
“There’s still no definite answer from anyone who was involved,” he said. “I still don’t know what was in there; I’m no nearer finding out than you are.
“People could remember a package that was delivered to France, they can remember who asked for it, they can remember the route it took, who delivered it, the times it arrived. The select committee has got expense sheets and travel documents.
“So everybody can remember this from five years ago, but no one can reruns member what was in the package. That strikes me as being extraordinary. It is very disappointing.”
When asked about Brailsford’s Fluimucil explanation, Kenworthy said: “Well that’s what Dave Brailsford came
out with at the hearing. But actually, if you recall, he didn’t say, ‘I know that’s what it was’. He said, ‘I have been told that’s what it was’.”
Simon Cope, who was a British Cycling employee at the time and now Wiggins’s eponymous cycling team, was the man who carried the Jiffy bag out to France. He has previously said that he had no idea what was in the package he was asked to deliver.
Asked whether British Cycling ought to have had records of what he was carrying, and whether Cope should have known what he was transporting, Kenworthy added: “One would think so, one would hope so. Here’s an individual [Cope] who’s carrying a package containing medicine across international boundaries, and he’s no idea what’s in them.
“One could say he could be putting himself at risk if they are drugs which one could not properly transport. Someone should be inquisitive enough to say, ‘Well, what is it I’m actually taking?’”
Brailsford, from whom Sky’s star rider Chris Froome appeared subtly to distance himself in a press conference on Friday, will address the media for the first time since September at Team Sky’s pre-season training camp in Majorca next week.
And he is likely to be put under further pressure, with Kenworthy warning him: “We’re not giving up on this, and we’ll dig and delve and find out what was in that package.
“One of the tragedies of all this is you’ve got probably one of the greatest cyclists that the UK has produced [Wiggins], who’s just coming to his retirement, and all the talk is not about the successes that he’s had, but about this package.
“It just undermines yet again the joy of sport.”
More questions than answers: David Kenworthy stated his disppointment over evidence to MPs