A week after UKAD announced its investigation into allegations made against British Cycling and Team Sky, Cyclingnews can confirm that individuals at the centre of the investigation have already been interviewed.
Simon Cope, the British Cycling coach who delivered a package at the request of Team Sky at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 confirmed on Friday that he had been contacted by UKAD at the start of this week. The contents of the package are still unknown. British Cycling has confirmed that the contents were medical in nature but it, Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins – who went onto win the race – have yet to confirm the contents.
"I have nothing more to say until this investigation is done," Cope told Cyclingnews on Friday, before adding that he been contacted via phone and email by UKAD.
Cope travelled back from the Dauphine with Shane Sutton, who at the time was employed by both British Cycling and Team Sky. Sutton told Cyclingnews that he has not been contacted by UKAD at this point. Dave Brailsford has not responded to our inquiries, while Team Sky stated this week that, "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."
The UKAD investigation is also looking into Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's claim that the drug Tramadol was offered freely to the members of the Great Britain men's team at the 2012 World Championships in Valkenburg.
Tiernan-Locke, who has since served a ban for an anti-doping violation, told the BBC that he was offered the drug, which is not currently banned and which was not banned in 2012 but has been claimed to boost performance, by the medical team. He later told Cyclingnews that the substance was offered by Dr. Richard Freeman, who then worked for Team Sky but who moonlighted as the national team doctor at times.
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- Cope: I don't know what was in the package for Team Sky
Tiernan-Locke confirmed that he had been emailed and then interviewed over the phone by UKAD investigators at the start of the week.
"They emailed me and asked if I was willing to have a chat. He wanted to know my knowledge over the incident and if there was a culture of it," he told Cyclingnews.
"We talked on the phone for 20 minutes, and I think he talking to several riders and trying to build whether there culture of it at the time at British Cycling and Team Sky."
Freeman remains on duty
Tiernan-Locke also confirmed that he was asked about Richard Freeman. The doctor was also the recipient of the package sent out to the Dauphine in 2011, and Cope told Cyclingnews earlier this week that although he had no knowledge of the contents he was delivering, that he handed it to Freeman upon arriving at the race.
Earlier this week Freeman refused to answer questions posed to him by the BBC outside the Manchester velodrome. Cyclingnews contacted British Cycling, which confirmed Freeman remained at work and had not been suspended while the investigation carried on. He was, however, removed from the team roster for the World Championships by British Cycling. Last week UKAD officials met with British Cycling at the governing body's offices at the velodrome.
Cyclingnews has also attempted to contact several of the road riders who raced with Tiernan Locke as part of the Worlds team in 2012. Of those contacted, only three-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome responded via a spokesperson with the message that none of UKAD, Team Sky or British Cycling had been in touch with him regarding the investigation.
UKAD, contacted by Cyclingnews on Friday, could not comment on any of the particulars of the investigation, but explained that there’s no limit to the span of their investigation as they speak to people and follow any ensuing leads.
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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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