British Cycling lead physiotherapist and Team Sky consultant Phil Burt has refused to confirm or deny whether he put together the controversial package that was flown out to Team Sky and their physician Dr Richard Freeman on the June 12, 2011.
Simon Cope, who flew at Team Sky's request to Geneva and then drove to the finish of the final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné to deliver what British Cycling have confirmed as a medical package, told Cyclingnews that the envelope and the contents may have come from Burt.
"It came from British Cycling. Phil Burt. Either he gave it to me or someone from the office did. I can't really remember. I also took them some spare clothes."
Cyclingnews printed an exclusive interview with Cope on Tuesday evening but refrained from using Burt's name in to give him the right to reply.
Burt sent a statement exclusively to Cyclingnews via the British Cycling press office. We had asked if he had put the medical package together and what the contents contained. His response neither confirmed nor denied Cope's version of events, instead choosing to focus on the UK Anti-Doping investigation into both British Cycling and Team Sky that was launched last week.
"I am happily and fully co-operating with the UKAD investigation and look forward to their report. To respect the integrity of their investigation I will not be commenting further."
Burt has been part of British Cycling for several Olympic cycles, including London 2012 when Bradley Wiggins won in the individual time trial and the track team carried away several gold medals. In 2015 Burt told the publication BikeBiz, that, "Thus far my journey has been all about the collective collaboration behind Olympic medals and Tour de France victories."
Since being interviewed by Cyclingnews, Cope has refrained from answering further questions. On Tuesday he gave a staunch defence of Team Sky, British Cycling and Bradley Wiggins, the latter whom has faced criticism for his use of three TUEs on the eve of three Grand Tours.
- Dr. Freeman to skip Road Worlds due to investigation of wrong doing at Team Sky and British Cycling
- UK Anti-Doping 'swoop' into British Cycling
- Wiggins and Team Sky under fresh scrutiny over medical package delivery
- Bradley Wiggins explains TUE use, asthma and allergies
- No rules broken and no action to follow in Wiggins TUE case, says Cookson
- Tour de France winners Froome and Wiggins named in confirmed 'Fancy Bear' WADA hack
Cope told Cyclingnews that British Cycling and Team Sky are "the masters at peaking. That comes from Dave B [ed. Brailsford]."
Last week Brailsford refused to answer questions from Cyclingnews but the Daily Mail reported inaccuracies in the Team Sky's boss version of events. Brailsford had told the British newspaper that Cope had travelled to France in order to meet with British rider Emma Pooley. However she denied this, stating that she was racing in Spain at the time, several hundred miles away from where Cope handed the package to Dr Freeman.
Cope added that UKAD had yet to contact him, but said that he would cooperate fully with the investigation.
"At some point, I expect so. I'll tell them what the truth is. I know what the truth is. There's nothing untoward going on and that's the same at BC. I've worked there for ten years and I've never seen anything and I've worked across every single discipline."
Cyclingnews contacted Team Sky with regards to Burt's relationships with the team. British Cycling confirmed that Burt had worked for the WorldTour team but Sky would not confirm the dates he worked for them. When asked by Cyclingnews about Cope's statements – that he was unaware of the contents of in the package, and that he had worked for Team Sky several times - the team responded with:
"We will be fully cooperating with this and, as we said in the message we put out on Saturday, we welcome the investigation as we are confident there has been no wrongdoing."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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