Team Sky crossed ethical line, claims report by MPs

4 March 2018, 22:07

Team Sky "crossed the ethical line" by using drugs to allegedly enhance the performance of Bradley Wiggins but did not break World Anti-doping Agency rules, a report by MPs has said.

Former Team Sky rider Wiggins, an asthma sufferer, used Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to take the banned corticosteroid Triamcinolone before major races - including his 2012 Tour De France victory.

This was to boost performance and not treat allergies, according to a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee report. Team Sky strongly deny Wiggins used Triamcinolone to enhance his performance.

And on Twitter, Wiggins issued a strong response: "I find it so sad that accusations can be made, where people can be accused of things they have never done which are then regarded as facts.

"I strongly refute the claim that any drug was used without medical need. I hope to have my say in the next few days & put my side across."

In their two-year report into doping in sport, the DCMS committee said: "We believe that this powerful corticosteroid was being used to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France.

"The purpose of this was not to treat medical need, but to improve his power to weight ratio ahead of the race. The application for the TUE for the triamcinolone for Bradley Wiggins, ahead of the 2012 Tour de France, also meant that he benefited from the performance enhancing properties of this drug during the race.

"This does not constitute a violation of the WADA code, but it does cross the ethical line that Sir David Brailsford says he himself drew for Team Sky. In this case, and contrary to the testimony of David Brailsford in front of the committee, we believe that drugs were being used by Team Sky within the WADA rules to enhance the performance of riders and not just to treat medical need."

Team Sky and British Cycling are accused of failing to keep proper medical records, a failure which is described as "serious, unprofessional and inexcusable".

The committee also criticised the conduct of Team Sky over a medical package sent to Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011. The committee says it is not in a position to verify Team Sky's claim the bag contained the decongestant Fluimucil.

The report says Team Sky general manager Brailsford has to take responsibility for the failure to keep proper records and the "damaging scepticism about the legitimacy of his team's performance and accomplishments".

A Team Sky statement said: 'The report details, again, areas in the past where we have already acknowledged that the Team fell short. We take full responsibility for mistakes that were made.

"We wrote to the Committee in March 2017 setting out in detail the steps we took in subsequent years to put them right, including, for example, the strengthening of our medical record keeping.

"However, the report also makes the serious claim that medication has been used by the Team to enhance performance. We strongly refute this. The report also includes an allegation of widespread Triamcinolone use by Team Sky riders ahead of the 2012 Tour de France.

"Again, we strongly refute this allegation. We are surprised and disappointed that the Committee has chosen to present an anonymous and potentially malicious claim in this way, without presenting any evidence or giving us an opportunity to respond. This is unfair both to the Team and to the riders in question.

"We take our responsibility to the sport seriously. We are committed to creating an environment at Team Sky where riders can perform to the best of their ability, and do it clean."

The report also calls on WADA to completely ban Triamcinolone and the painkiller Tramadol. The 52-page report says there is widespread use of drugs in sport and it recommends that the supplying drugs in sport should be a criminal offence.

The committee of five Conservative, five Labour and one Scottish National Party MPs found "acute failures" in athletics as well as cycling.