British Cycling unable to confirm contents of Wiggins' medical package

'The more we discover about the package, the more questions seem to be thrown up,' says MP

British Cycling have been unable to prove that the mystery package used to treat Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine contained the legal decongestant, Fluimucil.

The governing body had promised that records of the medical substances used by British Cycling would have been kept and offered to provide a paper trail to the culture, media and sport select committee last week.

However the Times and Daily Mail have now revealed that British Cycling President Bob Howden has written to members of parliament on the committee to tell them that British Cycling 'understand' that the jiffy bag contained Fluimucil. The contents of the package had been shrouded in mystery for several months, with the courier Simon Cope even telling Cyclingnews that he was unaware of the contents. However, Team Sky's Dave Brailsford told the select committee that he was told by British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman that the package contained Fluimucil.

According to the Times  and Daily Mail, British Cycling also wrote to the committee to tell them that they were unable to access their own documentation because they 'are locked down by UK Anti-Doping [Ukad] investigators.' UKAD are currently investigating an allegation of wrong-doing between British Cycling and Team Sky. At a committee hearing earlier in December, Team Sky's Shane Sutton confirmed that the contents of the package had been administered to Bradley Wiggins by British Cycling's doctor, Richard Freeman.

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The Times has also revealed that the cost of Cope's trip to the Dauphine amounted to nearly £600 in expenses. The timing of the trip and the fact that Sutton told the committee that Wiggins had been suffering with health issues during the race has also raised questions over why Team Sky waited several days to treat their star rider – who at the time was winning the Dauphine, and went on to take overall victory – instead of buying Fluimucil locally at a French pharmacy.

Last week, Prentice Steffen, Wiggins' doctor during his season at Garmin-Slipstream in 2009, told Cyclingnews that Team Sky's version of events "just struck me as a bit of an odd hand to play and an insufficient explanation."

"We pretty much keep Fluimucil on hand at all times because the guys ask for it. Certainly it's legal and it's probably effective in terms of its effect on clearing mucous and also providing an antioxidant effect. We can give it out pretty freely on cold or rainy days if riders feel like they are getting a cold," Steffen, who has worked in professional cycling since the 1990s, told Cyclingnews.

"When I run out, which does occur on occasion, I just go to the nearest pharmacy because it's pretty easy to get over the counter.

"If it was just Fluimucil then they could and should have said that from the outset rather than come up with the explanation weeks later. It just adds to the implausibility of it but I have no idea what could be in the package, it could be a love letter from his wife. Who knows?"

Damian Collins, the chairman of the select committee that is looking into doping within sport, said that British Cycling's responses had added more mystery and uncertainty to the situation.

He told the Times: "The more we discover about the package, the more questions seem to be thrown up. We now know from Simon Cope's expense claims that the request to take the package must have been made some time in advance, and that he travelled from southern England up to Manchester to collect it, and then went back to fly to France from London Gatwick.

"If this medicine was needed urgently it would have been much quicker to buy it in France. We also know from last week's hearing that the medication was administered as soon as it was delivered. It also seems that British Cycling do not know categorically what was in the package. They say they understand it to be Fluimucil but do not explain why they understand that's what it was. We need to be sure that British Cycling do keep proper records of what goes in and out of their medical stores." 

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