MPs have heard that Team Sky ordered more of the drug that was administered to Sir Bradley Wiggins under a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) than was necessary to treat one person. The chief executive of UK Anti-Doping (Ukad), Nicole Sapstead, said that, “either there was an excessive amount of it for one person or quite a few people had a similar problem.” Meanwhile, British Cycling has admitted "serious failings" in its record keeping over the medical package delivered to Team Sky at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.
While the TUEs were secured in accordance with UCI rules, Wiggins has come in for criticism given that triamcinolone has previously been used by drugs cheats.
The rider himself says the drug was administered due to the unpredictable nature of his allergies and has argued that the injections may even have had detrimental effect on his performance.
Sapstead, giving evidence to the culture, media and sport select committee as part of its investigation into possible doping in sport, said that from records relating to Triamcinolone seen by her organisation, more of it was ordered than was needed for the TUEs administered to Sir Bradley Wiggins.
“I can't speculate about how it used and whether it is used in or out of competition,” the BBC reports her as saying. “My understanding is Triamcinolone is considered, not a serious product, but you don't treat conditions with it lightly.
"For that reason you would either think there was an excessive amount of it for one person or quite a few people had a similar problem. It's difficult because of a lack of records to see what duration these orders were lasting for."
Sapstead was also questioned about the circumstances surrounding the delivery of a jiffy bag to Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.
She said that while Ukad had been told that the package contained the decongestant Fluimucil, Freeman did not have any documentation to prove this.
"We have received one account of what was in the package. That was that the package contained Fluimucil – not a prohibited substance and used for treatment of build-up of mucus, common in endurance sports.
"No one has any recognition of what was put in the package. We have asked for inventories and medical records to confirm that, but have not been able to ascertain that because there are no records."
Ukad established that Freeman kept medical records on a laptop.
"He was meant to, according to Team Sky policy and a policy that other doctors followed, upload the medical records onto a Dropbox that all doctors had access to.
"He did not do that for one reason or another. In 2014 we had been informed his laptop had been stolen while he was on holiday in Greece and that's why we've not been able to access those records."
Freeman himself had also been due to appear before the select committee, but pulled out of his planned evidence, saying he was too ill to attend.
The committee also heard from Simon Cope, the man who delivered the package, who told them he did not ask what was inside.
Asked whether he was “the most over-qualified delivery boy in history”, Cope said: “I could well be. But as I said earlier, I had a role in 2010 that was a full-time role, and I moved into a role which I could see, a few months down the line – which did happen – getting made redundant, as it wasn’t a full time job. So I was doing everything possible to keep people happy, to try and keep my job.”
He added: “Why would I ask if there was anything untoward. It’s a national governing body, why would I question the integrity of our governing body? I didn't ask."
British Cycling admits "serious failings" in record keeping
In a statement released on Wednesday evening in response to the select committee's latest evidence session, British Cycling said:
British Cycling welcomes the comments of UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead and would like to thank her and other UKAD staff for their work.
We have cooperated fully with UKAD throughout this process and we have encouraged others to do the same.
We acknowledge serious failings in our record keeping at the time. Our medicines management processes have been reviewed several times since 2011 and, through working with UKAD in recent months, we have identified further areas for improvement on this and in the provision of our wider medical services.
As has already been reported, Dr Richard Freeman is currently unwell. British Cycling owes a duty of care to him as his employer and therefore we will not make any further comment at this time.
The organisations' chair, Jonathan Browning, said: “Following the comments from UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead, we can announce the following measures to address clear failings in our processes highlighted in the investigation:
“First, an audit of our medical services provided to the Great Britain Cycling Team – we have taken the initial steps to enable the Care Quality Commission to examine the medical support we offer to our athletes and to identify areas of improvement.
“Second, a further review of the Great Britain Cycling Team’s medicines management policy – we will be seeking UKAD support in this.
“At British Cycling, we are wholly committed to clean sport and I want to assure athletes, fans and all other stakeholders that this commitment is unwavering.
“For anyone lucky enough to be working in any sport, it is not enough to just be clean, we must also be able to demonstrate that we are clean with transparent and accountable processes including good record-keeping and solid policies on all areas of medical support."
He added: “This is a fundamental responsibility, rooted in our duty to the athletes in our care as well as in our duty to the sport, and one which we take extremely seriously.”