The infamous medical package that has sparked so much controversy surrounding Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky, and British Cycling looks set to remain a mystery. After closing its 14-month investigation, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has passed on evidence 'of interest' to the General Medical Council (GMC), though Cyclingnews understands that the jiffy bag will not come under investigation from the regulatory body.
UKAD issued a statement on Wednesday outlining that no anti-doping charges will be brought against Wiggins, Sky, or British Cycling due to a lack of evidence surrounding the medical product that was couriered from the UK to France by a British Cycling employee and administered to Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. The organisation found it 'impossible' to substantiate or refute claims it was the legal decongestant fluimucil, nor allegations that it was the corticosteroid triamcinolone, banned in competition.
In its statement on Wednesday, UKAD explained that it "became aware of information that it considered to be of possible interest to the General Medical Council" and that it has "shared that information with the GMC, and will continue to liaise with the GMC as appropriate in relation to that information".
The GMC confirmed that it is looking into the information supplied.
A spokesperson said: "UKAD have made us aware of concerns and we are looking into these. However, we are not able to comment further on this matter."
Shortcomings in the keeping of medical records on the part of both Team Sky and British Cycling drew heavy criticism during a parliamentary committee and eventually led the UKAD investigation to a dead end, with the organisation's chief executive Nicole Sapstead expressing "serious concern".
The GMC possesses enhanced powers to require disclosure of information, under the 1983 Medical Act, and could in theory dig further than UKAD.
- Cope: I don't know what was in the package for Team Sky
- UKAD investigation rolls on as Brailsford's parliamentary questioning looms
- Timeline of UKAD investigation into Team Sky and British Cycling
- Brailsford dodges questions about UKAD investigation at Team Sky's Mallorca camp
- Cope feels 'stitched up' over role in Team Sky mystery-package saga
- UKAD reveals Freeman received delivery of testosterone
- UCI asks UKAD to assess former Sky rider Edmondson's injection claims
- Strong and Stable? Dave Brailsford’s year of saying nothing
- Select Committee report to reflect concerns over Team Sky and British Cycling
Cyclingnews understands, however, that the jiffy bag specifically is not something that the GMC is investigating.
The lack of a paper trail relating to the product that left British Cycling's medical store and ended up in Wiggins' system is just one aspect of a wider picture of mispractice that may be of concern to the GMC.
Richard Freeman, the doctor who worked across British Cycling and Team Sky, and administered the contents of the jiffy bag to Wiggins, has faced criticism for his approach to the keeping of medical records in general. He has said that his records were kept on his private laptop only – with Team Sky explaining that he regularly failed to comply with their 'Dropbox' protocol – and that the device had been stolen while on holiday in Greece in 2014.
It also emerged that Freeman had administered triamcinolone – the banned substance used legally by Wiggins under TUEs ahead of three Grand Tours – to friends, family, and members of staff at British Cycling and Team Sky, including Dave Brailsford. It was later reported that fellow Sky doctor Allen Farrell had resorted to changing the team's password on the World Anti Doping Agency's admin system to prevent Freeman from applying for a fourth TUE for Wiggins ahead of the 2013 Tour of Britain.
UKAD boss Sapstead revealed in parliament that significant quantities of the corticosteroid had been delivered to British Cycling, with no records of how it was used. British Cycling also took delivery of a box of testerone patches – testosterone being a banned drug – though the organisation has claimed it was sent in error and returned. Freeman was in charge of ordering medical supplies while at British Cycling.
Freeman declined to appear in front of MPs due to illness and has since stepped down from his role as medical officer at British Cycling.
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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