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UCI contacts UKAD to 'assess' Team Sky over Edmondson claims

UCI contacts UKAD to 'assess' Team Sky over Edmondson claims
By PA Sport

17/03/2017 at 15:44Updated 17/03/2017 at 15:53

The International Cycling Union's (UCI) anti-doping division has contacted the British authorities to "assess" former Team Sky rider Josh Edmondson's claim the British outfit covered up his breach of cycling rules on injections.

The International Cycling Union's (UCI) anti-doping division has contacted the British authorities to "assess" former Team Sky rider Josh Edmondson's claim the British outfit covered up his breach of cycling rules on injections.

In an interview with the BBC, Edmondson said he confessed to the team's senior management that he had been injecting himself with vitamins and legal supplements several times a week for a month in 2014.

This would contravene the UCI's "no needles" policy, which states injections are only allowed if there is clear medical need, there is no alternative, they are administered by a medical professional, the UCI is informed and records are kept.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, the UCI said: "The Union Cycliste Internationale has seen the BBC report.

"The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, the independent entity in charge of the anti-doping programme and investigations for the UCI, is in touch with UK Anti-Doping to assess the matter. No further comments will be provided at this stage."

While Edmondson is unlikely to have committed an anti-doping rule violation - the World Anti-Doping Agency only bans infusions or injections of more than 50 millilitres every six hours - he told the BBC none of the UCI's reasons to permit an injection apply in his case but the team did not report him.

Team Sky, however, reject his claim that he confessed to self-injecting, saying another rider found the substances and syringes at his apartment in Nice while the 24-year-old Yorkshireman was at the Tour of Poland. That rider then informed the team's management.

When confronted by Team Sky clinical director Dr Steve Peters, Edmondson denied injecting himself, as he did not know how to do it.

In a statement released on Thursday, Team Sky said: "The senior management team were made aware of this immediately and an investigation was initiated.

"At the conclusion of this we were satisfied that, while there had been a breach of the team's own policies, there was no evidence of any anti-doping violation having taken place.

"After interviews with the rider, Dr Steve Peters expressed immediate and serious concern regarding Josh's well-being and judged that he should be offered professional support. Josh met with Dr Peters so that this support could be provided.

"Given our belief there was no evidence of an anti-doping rule violation having taken place, the decision not to escalate or make public the incident was taken with the team's duty of athlete care in mind."

Edmondson, though, is adamant he did confess to injecting himself with a cocktail of substances, which he bought without the team's knowledge in Italy, in order to "close the gap a little without doping".

He also told the BBC in great detail about the products he used and the care he took when injecting himself, while Dr Peters admitted to the broadcaster that one of the vials they found was opened but said "it's not a cover-up".

The governing body's ban on injections was introduced in May 2011 after some teams lobbied the UCI to take a more aggressive stance against doping.

A sanction for a first-time offence, that does not involve banned drugs, would range from a suspension of eight days to six months, with a possible fine from £800 to £80,000. A second offence within two years of the first would bring a ban of six months to life.

In his interview with the BBC, Edmondson explained he decided to try the injections because he was struggling during the 2014 season and was aware his contract was up for renewal.

He also claims he became hooked on the controversial painkiller Tramadol during his Team Sky stint - an addiction that led him to experience severe depression.

The drug is not banned but has been on WADA's watch list since 2012 and Team Sky themselves have joined wide calls from within cycling for its prohibition.

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