Mistakes were made: Brailsford

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford admitted that "mistakes were made" by the British outfit with regard to their anti-doping and medical procedures.
Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford admitted that "mistakes were made" by the British outfit with regard to their anti-doping and medical procedures.PHOTO: REUTERS

He acknowledges failures during anti-doping procedures but insists Team Sky are clean

LONDON • Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford admitted on Tuesday that "mistakes were made" by the British outfit with regard to their anti-doping and medical procedures but denied any "wrongdoing".

British anti-doping authorities are investigating Team Sky and British Cycling over a mysterious package delivered to now-retired five-time Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins, 36, at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. Questions have also been asked over three therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) granted to the 2012 Tour de France champion in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Richard Freeman, then the Team Sky doctor, has said the package contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil and Wiggins, in common with Brailsford, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Freeman had been due to appear before Britain's Culture, Media and Sport select committee last week, but was too ill to attend. That hearing saw Nicole Sapstead, the head of United Kingdom Anti-Doping (Ukad), lay into Team Sky for failing to keep accurate records after telling the committee that Freeman had said the information was lost when his laptop was stolen while on holiday in Greece in 2014.

It has been alleged that the package contained the banned corticosteroid triamcinolone.

Sapstead said while there was no record of Freeman ordering Fluimucil, there were invoices for Kenalog - a brand name for triamcinolone.

On Tuesday, Team Sky published a letter and supporting documents sent to committee chairman Damian Collins MP, a Conservative lawmaker, in which the cycling chief again insisted that no one in his set-up had deliberately violated anti-doping rules.

In his letter, Brailsford said: "Self-evidently, the events of recent months have highlighted areas where mistakes were made by Team Sky.

"Some members of staff did not comply fully with the policies and procedures that existed at that time. Regrettably, those mistakes mean that we have not been able to provide the complete set of records that we should have around the specific race relevant to Ukad's investigation. We accept full responsibility for this. However, many of the subsequent assumptions and assertions about the way Team Sky operates have been inaccurate or extended to implications that are simply untrue.

"There is a fundamental difference between process failures and wrongdoing. Our commitment to anti-doping has been a core principle of Team Sky since its inception. Our mission is to race and win clean, and we have done so for eight years."

Sixteen of Team Sky's 28 riders backed Brailsford publicly in the wake of reports that some riders believed he could not carry on as the team head. "It shouldn't even need saying, but we all back Dave B 100%!!! I've known him a long time and I wouldn't want anyone else leading @teamsky," tweeted veteran rider Geraint Thomas, 30.

But three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, 31, was not among those who spoke up.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Mistakes were made: Brailsford'. Print Edition | Subscribe