Skip to main content

Brailsford says mysterious package contained legal drug Fluimucil

Team Sky GM Dave Brailsford at the 2016 Tour de France

Team Sky GM Dave Brailsford at the 2016 Tour de France

Dave Brailsford has revealed to a hearing of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that the mysterious package that was delivered to Team Sky in 2011 for Bradley Wiggins was the simple medicine Fluimucil, a mucolytic which helps to get rid of sticky and thick mucus that is obstructing the airway, resulting in coughing.

Fluimucil is on the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) list of permitted drugs to treat coughs and sore throats.

The Team Sky manager confirmed early comments by Shane Sutton that Simon Cope brought out the package as part of a pre-planned logistical trip to the Criterium du Dauphine. In addition, Brailsford stated that it was the physiotherapist Phil Burt, who has released the Fluimucil for transportation. Brailsford was also questioned on why the team had chosen to fly the substance 1,000 miles when it was readily available in France for around eight euros. 

Brailsford said Dr. Freeman told him the package contained Fluimucil, claiming he did not have first hand knowledge of the contents of the famous jiffy bag.

"Doctor Freeman told me that it was Fluimucil that was in the package, a product that is for a nebuliser. That is what was in the package," Brailsford explained, later going on to discuss the transportation of the package. "I don’t think it was convoluted, I think that this was the easiest possible way."

"The fact of the matter was that Simon Cope was already flying out. What we have on a regular basis, is people moving in and out and when you become aware of people moving in and out then, if you need anything, you can ask people to bring things with them. I think that is maybe where the whole situation has been misled is that the sole purpose for Simon Cope at the end of the Dauphine wasn’t expressly to bring and deliver a package."

He was asked if there was any documentary evidence of the contents or if it was solely Freeman's assurance that the package contained Fluimucil. 

"This is what Doctor Freeman told me," he said. "Let’s just be clear, I wasn’t aware of the package at the time. When it was brought to my attention, it is my role to take those matters seriously to try and gather the facts and see if there was any need for a disciplinary procedure. My first course of action was to speak to all of the guys on the team.

"Obviously we go to many races and people’s recollections of races can be vague. I spoke to everybody involved, I got witness statements, and then I couldn’t see that there was any anti-doping rule violation. However, I also felt that it was probably appropriate to pass that on and have it viewed by an independent authority who could verify the fact."

One thing that has been apparent since the revelations and throughout the questioning on Monday, was the appearance that several high-level members of staff were unaware of not just the contents of the package but the medical treatments issued to riders. When questioned by the MP John Nicholson, Brailsford said that it was an issue of doctor-patient confidentiality and he trusted the medical staff to inform him and other members of staff if it was necessary. 

"The doctor and the medical team work very closely with the riders to ensure their health is maximised and it is not necessarily the case that other members of staff would be aware," said Brailsford. "I think it’s on a case by case basis and at times they do and at times they don’t.

"We trust our doctors and if there is anything that we need to know and we trust that they would let us know, then they would share it with us. If not, they will respect medical responsibility. The discretion of the doctors is good and they will share it on a need to know basis."

More on this story:


Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1