United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) was told in 2019 that British Cycling had undertaken its own investigation into a suspected doper ahead of the London Olympic Games seven years earlier, according to a Sportsmail report.
The news follows the revelation in the Mail on Sunday yesterday that a urine sample taken from a “prominent” member of the Great Britain Cycling Team in 2010 was found to have an elevated amount of the steroid nandrolone.
The newspaper claimed that instead of UKAD conducting its own investigation as the national anti-doping agency, one of its officials permitted British Cycling to conduct further tests, including on the urine of a number of riders
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched an investigation into both British Cycling and UKAD, although the rider cannot be sanctioned since the 10-year statute of limitations has now passed.
That period had not expired, however, at the time when a whistleblower is said to have written to UKAD in 2019 urging it to investigate the episode, although it is not knowing whether the agency acted upon the letter.
A spokesperson for UKAD told Sportsmail: “We receive a significant number of intelligence reports each year. All information which is passed to UKAD is taken seriously and handled with the highest levels of confidentiality and discretion.
“To protect the confidentiality of the investigation process it is not always possible to respond or provide updates on lines of investigation which follow an information report.
“We have a rigorous process for receiving and handling any intelligence which comes to us.”
UKAD is currently running a separate investigation into former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman, who was struck off the Medical Register earlier this month due to his misconduct.
That case centred on the delivery of 30 testosterone patches in May 2011 to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, with a medical tribunal ruling that Freeman knew or believed that they would be used to enhance the performance of an unnamed athlete.
Freeman was working for British Cycling at the time the sample containing the heightened level of nandrolone was found, while Sir Dave Brailsford was the then performance director of the national team, a role he combined with being team principal of Team Sky, which began racing in 2010.
WADA has said that some of the information supplied to it in respect of the 2010 test “is of significant concern.”
In a statement, it said: “We have asked our independent Intelligence and Investigations Department to look into this matter and to contact UKAD to seek further information.”
A UKAD spokesman commented: “We are working with the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate claims relating to private testing carried out by British Cycling in 2011.
“UKAD is examining archives to confirm decisions that were taken in 2011 followed due process set by WADA.”
In a statement, British Cycling said: “We are unable to give full comment on this story at this stage as the events took place over 10 years ago and none of the senior management team involved have worked for British Cycling for some time.
“We are reviewing such archived records that exist from this period and, although that is not a straightforward or quick process, we will share the findings with the relevant parties.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.