The chairman of UK Anti-Doping has told MPs the agency made “mistakes” in its handling of information passed to it regarding a London doctor alleged to have prescribed performance enhancing drugs to dozens of athletes. The whistleblower cyclist, Dan Stevens, insists there is insufficient testing for doping among amateur riders in Britain.
In 2014 Stevens, who was serving a two-year ban for doping, gave UKAD copies of prescriptions for EPO and human growth hormone that he said had been issued to him by Dr Mark Bonar, an anti-ageing specialist.
Frustrated by UKAD’s failure to act on the information he had supplied, he later went to The Sunday Times which earlier this year used hidden cameras to record footage in which Bonar claimed to have treated Premier League footballers and British cyclists competing in the Tour de France.
Yesterday Stevens, Sunday Times Insight manager Jonathan Calvert and UKAD chairman David Kenworthy appeared in Westminster before the Culture, Media and Sport Commons Select Committee, which is investigating blood doping in sport.
Reflecting on his treatment after he supplied information to it, Stevens told the committee: “At the time I felt that UKAD were very reluctant to listen to my information and I spent quite a lot of time pursuing UKAD as to why they hadn’t, in my opinion, done a thorough investigation.
“I gave information relating to Dr Mark Bonar to Graham Arthur, who is head of legal at UKAD, and he said the information was of little to no use to UKAD.”
Asked about his own doping, Stevens admitted to having used testosterone and EPO for three months and had seen “huge effects” on his performance.
Pressed on how prevalent he believes doping is in amateur cycling, he replied: “I can’t comment how much doping is going on because I don’t know factually.
“But," he added, "what I can say is that there’s not a lot of testing going on, and when testing is happening the athletes are being given advance notice that they are going to be tested.”
While Kenworthy insisted to the committee that UKAD had no powers to investigate Bonar, he admitted that the agency should have passed the allegations against him onto the appropriate professional body.
“Whatever the suspicions about Bonar supplying [performance enhancing drugs], it was thought – and correctly thought – that actually he was not a sport doctor and therefore did not come under our remit,” he maintained.
“There was a mistake made. He should have been referred straight away to the General Medical Council,” he added.
“He wasn’t. He has been now but it is late in the day. I would have liked for somebody to go round and speak to him. I think we should have dealt with it rather better than we did.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.