New details emerge about testosterone patches sent to Team Sky and British Cycling

Medical supplier refused to cooperate with UKAD investigation

A medical supplier that allegedly sent a batch of testosterone patches to British Cycling and Team Sky has refused to cooperate with a UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) investigation into the incident, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

British Cycling has since confirmed that they will end their relationship with the Fit 4 Sport company, although the Daily Mail reports that Fit 4 Sport still name Team Sky among their clients.

UKAD last week ended its year-long investigation into the contents of a jiffy bag delivered to Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné due to a lack of evidence. They stated that the investigation "had been particularly challenging in light of a lack of contemporaneous medical records".

The Daily Mail reports that both British Cycling and the UKAD approached Fit 4 Sport for documentation regarding the delivery of testosterone but both were met with a refusal to respond.

Fit 4 Sport, which also includes the Football Association on its books, was involved in the 2011 delivery of testosterone to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. UKAD discovered the delivery of the testosterone – which has been a banned substance since the 1970s – in March of this year. British Cycling acknowledged receipt of the delivery but said that it was an administrative error and it had been sent back to the supplier.

The testosterone had been sent to Dr. Richard Freeman, who made medical supply orders for both Team Sky and British Cycling at the time. He has since left British Cycling, refusing to respond to questions about the infamous Jiffy Bag case and his loss of medical records.

Former medical director and now team psychologist, Dr. Steve Peters told the Sunday Times in March that he was aware of the delivery, and that following its return, Dr. Freeman requested confirmation that it had been sent in error.

“That confirmation arrived. I was satisfied that this was simply an administrative error and it wasn't necessary to (inform) Dave Brailsford (then performance director of British Cycling),” Peters told the Sunday Times.

A year-long investigation

UKAD launched its first investigation into wrongdoing at Team Sky and British Cycling in October 2016 following reports that a medical package had been sent by the governing body to the team following the 2011 Dauphiné. After repeated denials, Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford confirmed in a parliamentary hearing that the package had contained the decongestant Fluimicil. However, there was no official record of what the package contained.

The revelations came off the back of the Fancy Bears’ hack, which published Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) data of a number of athletes. The leaks revealed Bradley Wiggins’ use of the TUE for the corticosteroid Triamcinolone, which was administered by Freeman.

Wiggins said that the medication was necessary to treat pollen allergies. While the TUEs have been a controversial issue over the past year, they were applied for through the regulations set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and did not contravene UCI rules.

However, former technical director Shane Sutton – who now works with the Chinese Federation after he left British Cycling amid accusations of sexism and bullying – caused more controversy with comments made to a BBC documentary on Sunday evening. In the documentary, Sutton was asked if finding “gains” meant using TUEs and he responded by saying, “Yes, because the rules allow you to do that.”

WADA president Craig Reedie expressed his disappointment at the comments, saying, “The inference is that the system can be used and that's the worrying thing if someone is seeking to do that."

Since closing its investigation into the contents of the so-called jiffy bag, UKAD has passed on some evidence “of interest” to the General Medical Council, who may examine the apparent failure to keep proper medical records.

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