Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins, and the whole sport of cycling should have their reputations “reinstated” after the ending UK Anti-Doping investigation into the contents of the mystery Jiffy bag delivered to Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné, according to Brian Cookson.
Speaking at the launch of the Tour de Yorkshire 2018 route in Halifax on Tuesday, the former UCI president said that the closing of the UKAD investigation was the “end of the story” with “no rules broken”, and that those involved in the investigation did not deserve the damage that it had caused to their reputations.
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“I think the reputation of the sport, the reputation of the the team, and the reputation of the rider Bradley Wiggins should be reinstated,” Cookson told the BBC.
“At the end of the day I have no idea what was in that package, and have no idea what the so-called whistleblower told UKAD or told the Daily Mail what was in the package. UKAD have not been able to put a case together so that’s the end of the story.”
In September 2016 UKAD opened an investigation into the contents of a Jiffy bag delivered from British Cycling headquarters in Manchester to Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. UKAD received information that the package contained triamcinolone, a glucocorticoid that is banned in-competition when administered in certain ways, while Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford said that it contained the decongestant Fluimucil.
However, the investigation was closed last month after UKAD said that no anti-doping charges would be brought as it had been unable to determine what was in the package due to inadequate medical record keeping by British Cycling.
Cookson also talked about the use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs), medical certificates which allow athletes to use otherwise banned substances to treat medical conditions, which former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton has said can be used “to find gains”.
Cookson said that it should come as no surprise that rules about TUEs are pushed to the limit by athletes and coaches, and that cycling was simply following many other sports in pushing rules to the limit.
“I’ve said many times before I don’t think anyone should be surprised when a professional sports team pushes the rules right to the very limit,” Cookson said.
“That’s what professional sports teams do – you see it in football, you see it in Formula One and so on. That’s essentially I think what’s happened here; in terms of the structures that were in place at the time, the rules were abided by.”
Cookson was replaced as UCI president by Frenchman David Lappartient in September, with the new man at the head of world cycling saying that he wants to prevent riders from competing when they have received TUEs for glucocorticoids.