Simon Cope has told Cyclingnews that he is due to speak to UK Anti-Doping this week as the investigation into the medical package he took to Team Sky's Dr. Richard Freeman at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine intensifies.
Cope was at the Abu Dhabi Tour with the Wiggins team until Sunday, alongside fellow directeur sportif Chris Lillywhite and team manager Andrew McQuaid. When approached by Cyclingnews during the Abu Dhabi Tour, Cope refused to speak about the UK Anti-Doping investigation, saying: "Why shouldn't I be here? I've nothing to hide. I'm not going to say anything until next week when I'm due to speak to UK Anti-Doping."
Cope suggested to Cyclingnews that Bradley Wiggins had spoken to UK Anti-Doping last week. However, there was no confirmation of this from Wiggins. The 2012 Tour de France winner had been expected to ride the Abu Dhabi Tour by race organizers, but left them angry by preferring to stay in Britain and train for the upcoming London Six and Gent Six – the final races of his professional career. Any further questions about Wiggins TUE have been put back to the London Six – his last race on British soil, which he will ride with Mark Cavendish.
Cope became caught up in the growing controversy concerning Wiggins, British Cycling, Team Sky and Dr. Richard Freeman who has links to all of the story lines. UKAD are investigating an allegation of wrongdoing but have not made any other specifics public.
The Daily Mail newspaper revealed Cope couriered the padded mailer envelope to Dr. Freeman at the Criterium du Dauphine while working as a coach with British Cycling's women's team. It appears that staff often worked for Team Sky as part of an agreement between the state-funded national federation and the professional team managed by Dave Brailsford. In an earlier interview with Cyclingnews, Cope suggested he had worked for Team Sky on a number of times in 2011, including as a directeur sportif at minor races as he tried to secure a full-time role in the professional team.
When speaking to Cyclingnews on October 11, Cope played down the importance of his one-day trip to the French Alps, insisting he did not know what was in the package. He also defended Wiggins.
"I don't have a clue what was in there. It wasn't something unusual. There's no way that British Cycling are going to put something dodgy or illegal for them (people) to take through customs. It's just not going to happen. It's just madness," he suggested
"It was nothing to do with Brad. I gave it to Richard Freeman. This parcel was asked for, for Richard Freeman. It could have been nasal strips or band aids, I really don't know."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.