A former Team Sky doctor now working with British Cycling and who is linked with events being investigated by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) will not be travelling with the national team to this week’s UCI World Championships in Doha, Qatar, it has been confirmed.
Dr Richard Freeman was working with Team Sky in 2011 and, according to a Daily Mail report last week, requested a British Cycling employee to fly out to the Critérium du Dauphiné in June of that year to deliver a package understood to contain medicine.
The newspaper said that a Team Sky insider had told it that Wiggins, who had just won the race, was seen to go into the treatment room at the rear of the team bus with Freeman.
UKAD is investigating the incident, and is also believed to be looking into separate claims by former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.
The 31-year-old, handed a two-year ban in 2014 due to biological passport irregularities, claimed that prior to the World Championship road race in 2012, Great Britain team staff “freely offered” British riders the painkilling drug tramadol – not in itself banned, but the use of which in cycling is controversial.
According to a statement from British Cycling quoted in the Guardian, the decision for Freeman not to travel to this year’s World Championships was a mutual one.
“This was a decision jointly reached by the team management and Richard,” the statement said. “The riders in Doha will instead be supported by UCI medical team at the worlds, alongside the usual GBCT [Great Britain Cycling Team] support staff.”
British Cycling programmes director, Andy Harrison, added: “This was a decision taken with the best interests of Richard and the riders at heart. We have every confidence that the team will get all the support they need.”
Even prior to the questions raised by the Daily Mail, Team Sky had been under pressure over Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) granted to Wiggins ahead of the Tour de France in 2011 and 2012, as well as the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The team insists that the TUEs were issued for a genuine medical need, namely to treat Wiggins’ allergies to pollen and grass. Similar certificates have also been issued to Chris Froome in the past.
Yesterday posted a message on Twitter in which it said “it has been a challenging few weeks for the team” and that they “strongly refute” the allegations contained in the Daily Mail’s article.
The team added: “We welcome this investigation as we are confident there has been no wrongdoing. We take these issues seriously and will fully co-operate with UKAD. We hope it can be completed as thoroughly and quickly and as possible.”
The statement concluded: “Team Sky abide by the rules. We are committed to clean competition and we want you to know that we 100 per cent stand by that.”
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.