British Cycling announces a review into its medical practices following UKAD investigation fallout

British Cycling was criticised for lax record-keeping by UK Anti-Doping and has now asked the English Institute for Sport's director of medical services to conduct an independent review

Thursday 20 April 2017 16:37
The organisation will conduct a review into its medical practices
The organisation will conduct a review into its medical practices

British Cycling has announced a review into its medical practices following the criticism it received as part of UK Anti-Doping's recent investigation.

Both the national governing body and road racing off-shoot Team Sky were heavily criticised for lax record-keeping as the investigation focused on the contents of a package delivered to Team Sky in France at the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine race.

Neither the team nor British Cycling were able to provide documentary evidence of the package's contents, and earlier this year UKAD chief Nicole Sapstead told MPs the governing body had no idea if the drugs in its medical store were intended for its riders or Team Sky's.

UK Anti-Doping Chief Nicole Sapstead

British Cycling has now asked the English Institute for Sport's director of medical services, Dr Rod Jaques, to conduct an independent review of its medical and physiotherapy teams' operational practice.

Jaques has already begun work, and will conduct interviews with staff and appraise current processes and policies relating to medical resourcing, management and record-keeping. His report is expected in June this year.

British Cycling's people director Michael Chivers said: "We are committed to providing the highest standards of medical support - that's why we've commissioned an external expert to scrutinise our existing processes and procedures and to make a series of recommendations on how we can improve.

"We will not pre-judge what the recommendations might be, but we are keen to bring parity between performance and health and welfare, and to ensure we reduce the potential for conflicts of interest between a team's medical staff and its coaches."

British Cycling’s erformance director, Stephen Park

Performance director Stephen Park added: "This is about balancing high performance with high support in terms of the health and welfare services we provide our athletes. I've been impressed by much of the work that the team is doing, and in commissioning this review the intent is to strive for continual improvement to ensure that we are operating to the highest standard."

UK Anti-Doping has been investigating allegations of wrong-doing affecting both British Cycling and Team Sky.

Winners of four of the last five Tours de France, Team Sky have been under scrutiny since October when it was revealed UKAD was looking into a claim former star rider Sir Bradley Wiggins was injected with triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid, at the end of the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011.

Thanks to the Fancy Bears computer hackers, it emerged last September that Wiggins was given permission for jabs of the otherwise-banned drug before his three biggest races in 2011, 2012 and 2013 - including his breakthrough Tour de France win in 2012. The now-retired rider, who has denied any wrongdoing, did not have permission to use it at the Dauphine, though.

Medical information was leaked by the 'Fancy Bears' hacker group

Central to the investigation has been the contents of a package delivered to the team at the end of that race, hand-delivered by a British Cycling coach and sent from the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

Dr Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky medic, has said he cannot find any records to prove the package contained the legal decongestant called Fluimucil because he failed to follow team policy by sharing those records with colleagues. He then lost his laptop on holiday three years later.

UK Anti-Doping is yet to publish the findings of its investigation, while the results of a concurrent probe by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee will now not appear until after the upcoming general election.

In early March, Team Sky published an open letter from team principal Sir Dave Brailsford to Damian Collins MP, chair of the select committee, in which the team outlined 14 steps taken to improve their anti-doping and medical policies since 2011, including a focus on record-sharing.

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