UKAD investigation 'hindered' by British Cycling
UK Anti-Doping's (UKAD) investigation into British Cycling's 'jiffy bag' incident may have been compromised by the organisation's reporting procedures, according to a letter sent to the governing body.
In the letter, published by British Cycling after an approach by the BBC, UKAD said failure to report doping allegations sooner meant that the story had "already reached a number of individuals before UKAD was informed and thus able to act."
The letter, dated November 2017 after UKAD halted its investigation into the delivery of a package - the contents of which were unknown according to the accounts of members of British Cycling - to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, has now been disclosed. UKAD had initially refused to release letters sent to British Cycling and Team Sky, according to BBC journalist Dan Roan.
The letter, criticising British Cycling's medical stock-keeping system, said:
"We [UKAD] found no formal processes or procedures in place to record the purchase, use or disposal of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies. i.e. a medical stock-keeping system, except for invoices kept by the finance department.
"There was no process to record what products or supplies were stored by British Cycling at the velodrome or elsewhere, and what was checked in and out of the medical room on site.
"There were no records of pharmaceutical medical supply packages sent by British Cycling to teams competing at events at home or abroad.
"We found little if any evidence of supervision or executive oversight of the team doctors"
The correspondence added:
"Despite being aware of allegations in relation to the 2011 package, British Cycling were slow to inform UKAD of these.
"In fact, contact on this matter was made at UKAD instigation. Contact by British Cycling with some members of staff at British Cycling prior to informing UKAD could have potentially compromised our investigation.
"Under the UK National Anti-Doping policy by which British Cycling is bound, there is an obligation on a National Governing Body of Sport to report any suspicions or allegations of doping.
"Failure to inform UKAD at the time that individuals within British Cycling became aware of such suspicions or allegations meant that this story had already reached a number of individuals before UKAD was informed, and thus able to act. That only hindered our efforts.
"We would suggest that all revenant staff are reminded of their obligations."
Alongside publication of the letters, British Cycling released a statement, in which it said it had made "significant changes to the provision of medical services to the Great Britain cycling team" following the conclusion of UKAD's 14 month investigation.
The investigation closed after an absence of documentation about the package - alleged to contain a banned corticosteroid - was found.
Dr Richard Freeman, a former British Cycling medic, claimed he had lost records after his laptop had been stolen while on holiday.
In its statement, British Cycling said "We continue to partner and support UKAD in the important work it conducts to keep sport clean."