British Cycling and Team Sky have issued a statements in reaction to the news that UK Anti-Doping will not be bringing charges in relation to its investigation into the mystery package delivered to Sky during the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.
BC admitted that the findings of the investigation highlighted shortcomings in the organisation and its relationship with British WorldTour squad Team Sky.
BC chief executive officer Julie Harrington said in the statement: “UKAD’s findings represent an organisation and culture that, despite delivering on the world stage, did not meet the high standards that British Cycling today holds itself to.”
BC and Team Sky’s medical record keeping came under scrutiny in the case. The investigation focussed on a package that was transported from British Cycling’s base in Manchester to Team Sky in France at the 2011 Dauphiné, and reportedly contained medicine Fluimucil for use by Bradley Wiggins. Fluimucil is not a banned substance.
There appeared to be no paper trail to confirm what was in the package or who it was intended for, with UKAD saying in its report: “due to the lack of contemporaneous evidence, UKAD has been unable to definitively confirm the contents of the package. The significant likelihood is that it is now impossible to do so”.
BC says that its medical recording system has now been tightened up.
“We note that UKAD have referred information arising from their investigation to the General Medical Council and we offer them our wholehearted cooperation,” said Harrington.
“British Cycling have implemented a number of significant changes to the management of our medical services to the Great Britain Cycling Team following a review instigated in March by chair Jonathan Browning, shortly after his appointment. This was an external review led by Dr Rod Jaques of the English Institute of Sport and all of his recommendations have been accepted by British Cycling. We welcome UKAD’s support for these changes.”
The relationship between BC and Team Sky were also investigated, with staff and resources often shared between the two entities. Harrington said that this relationship has led to ‘some failings’, and that there are now ‘clear boundaries’ between the two.
“The association between British Cycling and Team Sky has been a positive force for cycling in this country,” said Harrington. “However we accept that the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky developed rapidly and as a result, at times, resulted in the blurring of the boundaries between the two. This led to some failings in the way that processes and people were managed.
“Today, based on our learning together there are clear boundaries and distinctions between our two organisations: no one is simultaneously employed by British Cycling and Team Sky; and we each have our own practices in place for managing athlete records.
“My focus now is on ensuring that we can give athletes and the public the reassurance they need to believe in our ability to win clean on the biggest global stages because of the systems and controls we have put in place. We are intent on ensuring that the integrity of our record keeping is never called into question again.”
Team Sky also issued a brief statement on Wednesday in reaction to the conclusion of the UKAD investigation.
“We are pleased that UK Anti-Doping have concluded their investigation and that they will not be taking any further action,” read the statement.
“We have always maintained that there was no wrongdoing and we have co-operated fully with UK Anti-Doping over the last year.
“Since our inception as a new pro cycling team in 2010 we have continually strengthened our systems and processes so they best support our strong commitment to anti-doping.”