Dave Brailsford has confirmed that he was one of the Team Sky and British Cycling staff members who received an injection of triamcinolone from British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman.
Team Sky confirmed to Cyclingnews on Friday that members of staff from both organisations had received doses of the corticosteroid from the doctor. Brailsford told the Daily Telegraph that he received the intra-articular injection to reduce inflammation in his knee after the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. At that point Brailsford was the British Cycling Performance director, with Team Sky only forming at the start of 2010.
Freeman, at the centre of a UK-Anti Doping investigation looking into a potential doping violation at Team Sky in 2011, ordered large quantities of triamcinolone through British Cycling and used it to treat riders at Team Sky, including Bradley Wiggins, who obtained a therapeutic use exemption to receive three doses of the powerful steroid in the build-up to three Grand Tours between 2011 and 2013.
“Our team doctor at the time, Dr [Roger] Palfreeman, removed excess fluid from the joint and advised oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Subsequently I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and had a partial meniscectomy in Sheffield Hospital,” Brailsford told the Telegraph.
Cyclingnews understands that Palfreeman remains on Team Sky’s books but that this year he will not be on the road with the team. He previously worked for BMC and the Linda McCartney Racing Team.
“My joint is at risk of continuous degeneration which can in some instances require having a knee joint replacement. I have had subsequent episodes of severe inflammation,” Brailsford said.
“Whilst this is normally managed with oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, on one occasion a clinical decision was made to treat the symptoms within the joint with an intra-articular corticosteroid injection. This was done with the appropriate assessment, informed consent and subsequent monitoring.
"The treatment was administered to me by our then team doctor, Dr Freeman, who is a musculoskeletal specialist, at the velodrome in line with good clinical practice.”
British Cycling, Freeman and Team Sky have been unable to provide a detailed inventory of the movement of triamcinolone from the national federation’s base in Manchester. The three parties have stated that a Jiffy bag sent to the Dauphiné in 2011 and used to treat Bradley Wiggins by Freeman contained the over-the-counter decongestant, Fluimucil, but no paper trail has been produced to back this up.
“I appreciate it is an unusual step to issue personal medical information of this nature,” Brailsford added. “I have only done so to ensure that any subsequent reporting is based on fact in light of the questions that have been put to me today.”
The Telegraph reported that Keith Lambert, the Great Britain Cycling Team academy coach, also received an intra-articular injection of triamcinolone in order to treat arthritis.