Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford says that he could have better handled the fallout from the Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky controversy
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford has said that he made the controversy surrounding the jiffy bag delivered to Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné a “damn sight worse than it needed to be”, and admits that he could have handled the situation better.
Documents, which were published online by hackers, showed Wiggins had TUEs for injections of corticosteroid triamcinolone (also known as Kenalog or Kenacort) to treat allergies during his time with Team Sky.
Although the substance was administered for a medical reason and therefore within the rules, the TUEs caused controversy as Wiggins had said in his book, My Time, that he had not received injections. One of the injections was given to Wiggins prior to his 2012 Tour de France victory.
Following that, a report in the Daily Mail said that Wiggins had received a package – possibly containing medication – during the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné, which he won. Questions have been asked regarding the content of the package, and the reasons for its urgent delivery.
Speaking to the Telegraph Cycling Podcast‘s Lionel Birnie and Richard Moore, Brailsford said that he should have checked facts before talking to the Daily Mail, where he told them the package was delivered to Sky in France by Simon Cope – then British Cycling women’s coach – who was visiting British rider Emma Pooley. However, it transpired that Pooley was not in France at the time.
“Someone mentioned that he [Cope] might have popped over for a meeting with Emma Pooley,” said Brailsford. “So I relayed this information before I had the full facts. I should have rung Emma and asked. It would have taken two minutes.
“From what was a small little fire if you like, I have inadvertently thrown a huge amount of petrol on it. And two plus two equals 10 now.”
Brailsford was asked about the contents of the package by Birnie and Moore, but was not forthcoming in revealing what was in it.
“This whole things was brought to my attention recently,” he said. “I never saw a package. Obviously, now I can’t go back and know what was in the package. I know what I was told was in package.”
Brailsford said: “I don’t think at this moment in time it helps to say ‘by the way, it was X'”.
Brailsford also talked at some length about Sky’s anti-doping policy, the use of medical substances and TUEs. He said that the team’s riders had not systematically used powerful painkiller tramadol, corticosteroids or other substance to aid performance or lose weight. Nor had the team abused the TUE system.
Brailsford said that he welcomed an investigation being undertaken by UK Anti-Doping into Team Sky and British Cycling.
“We are not hiding anything wrong here,” said Brailsford. “I welcome the intervention of UKAD.”
“They can get to the bottom of it and establish the truth.”