Bradley Wiggins: UKAD investigation felt like a witch hunt

Former Team Sky rider left with concerns, may take legal action

Bradley Wiggins has broken his silence over the 'jiffy bag' controversy, issuing a long statement in which he describes UK Anti Doping's investigation as a "malicious witch hunt" that has been a "living hell" for him and his family. Wiggins responds with a series of questions of his own relating to UKAD's investigation, which was closed due to a lack of evidence, and revealed he is considering legal action against the agency. Wiggins' statement can be read in full below.

Wiggins has not commented publicly since it emerged more than a year ago that he was administered the contents of a medical package that was couriered from the UK by a British Cycling employee to the Team Sky bus in France on the final day of the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.

It was alleged that the jiffy bag contained triamcinolone, the corticosteroid Wiggins controversially but legally used under therapeutic use exemptions ahead of three Grand Tours between 2011 and 2013. UKAD opened their investigation in September 2016.

On Wednesday, UKAD announced that, unable to establish what was in the package, it had closed the investigation with no charges to be brought against Wiggins, Team Sky, or British Cycling. The organisation blamed a lack of medical records keeping at Sky and British Cycling for its inability to refute or substantiate either the triamcinolone allegation or the claim from Sky and British Cycling officials that the package contained the legal decongestant, Fluimucil.

"Following this morning's statement from UKAD, it is only now that I have the opportunity to break my silence, give my reaction to the events of the last 14 months and to ask a few questions of my own," Wiggins wrote.

"I welcome UKAD's confirmation that no anti-doping charges are to be brought regarding the so-called 'jiffy bag' allegations. It has always been the case that no such charges could be brought against me as no anti-doping violations took place. I am pleased that this has finally been confirmed publicly but there are a large number of questions regarding the investigation which I feel remain unanswered."

Wiggins demands that UKAD reveal the source and exact nature of the allegation that triggered the investigation, citing the public interest. The 37-year-old also asks why the investigation took almost 14 months to reach its conclusion, arguing that he has suffered "serious personal damage" as a result.

"Being accused of any doping indiscretion is the worst possible thing for any professional sportsperson, especially when it is without any solid factual basis and you know the allegation to be categorically untrue," he wrote.

"This period of time has been a living hell for me and my family, full of innuendo and speculation. At times it has felt nothing less than a malicious witch hunt."

Wiggins says he fully cooperated with UKAD over the past year, revealing that he was only contacted once, for a 90-minute interview on November 28 of last year. He insists the organisation's inability to find out what was in the package was due to forces out of his control.

"During my career, like any other professional sportsperson, I relied heavily on the professional team around me, whether that be coaches, trainers or more pertinently medical practitioners. The medical documentation concerning my treatment was something absolutely out of my control.

"I put ultimate trust in the team around me to do their jobs in their specific field of expertise to the same standard that I would expect of myself on the bike. Had the infrastructure for precise record keeping being in place this investigation would never have started."

Wiggins ends his statement with a plea for respect of his privacy and a vote of thanks to those who stood by him while "this dark cloud" has hung over him.

More on this story:

Bradley Wiggins' statement in full

Following this morning’s statement from UKAD, it is only now that I have the opportunity to break my silence, give my reaction to the events of the last 14 months and to ask a few questions of my own.

I welcome UKAD’s confirmation that no anti-doping charges are to be brought regarding the so-called ‘jiffy bag’ allegations. It has always been the case that no such charges could be brought against me as no anti-doping violations took place. I am pleased that this has finally been confirmed publicly but there are a large number of questions regarding the investigation which I feel remain unanswered.

Being accused of any doping indiscretion is the worst possible thing for any professional sportsperson, especially when it is without any solid factual basis and you know the allegation to be categorically untrue.

I have kept my silence throughout this period to allow UKAD to conduct their investigation in the most professional way possible and so as not to undermine it. This is despite widespread and unfounded speculation in the press, being hounded on my door step and having commentators and professional riders wading in without knowing all the facts.

This period of time has been a living hell for me and my family, full of innuendo and speculation. At times it has felt nothing less than a malicious witch hunt.

To say I am disappointed by some of the comments made by UKAD this morning is an understatement. No evidence exists to prove a case against me and in all other circumstances this would be an unqualified finding of innocence. The amount of time it has taken to come to today’s conclusion has caused serious personal damage, especially as the investigation seems to be predicated on a news headline rather than real solid information.

UKAD’s findings this morning have left me with a series of my own questions;

  • Where did the information come from to launch the investigation?
  • Who was the source?
  • What exactly did that person say and to whom?
  • Why did UKAD deem it appropriate to treat it as a credible allegation?
  • Surely it is now in the public interest to reveal this source?
  • Why has it taken so long for these conclusions to be drawn?
  • How much tax payers money has been spent so far on this investigation?

I want to make it plain and clear that I have done everything in my power to assist UKAD with their investigation. I was interviewed for over 90 minutes on November 28th 2016, and I also handed over to UKAD’s investigators all the relevant medical records available to me. I have not subsequently been contacted by UKAD to query anything I said or any information I provided. Nor have I been asked for any additional information.

During my career, like any other professional sportsperson, I relied heavily on the professional team around me, whether that be coaches, trainers or more pertinently medical practicioners. The medical documentation concerning my treatment was something absolutely out of my control. I put ultimate trust in the team around me to do their jobs in their specific field of expertise to the same standard that I would expect of myself on the bike. Had the infrastructure for precise record keeping being in place this investigation would never have started.

Much criticism has been made of Dr Freeman. I have always felt, and still feel, that he is a very good physician and treated me and others with great care and respect.

For now, I would implore the media to give me and my family space, and repsect our privacy. I plan on making on further public statement at this point as I assess which legal options to pursue.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank those who have stood by me and my family while this dark cloud has been over us.

Bradley Wiggins
15th November 2017

 

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