Team Sky got drug from Swiss pharmacy

British cyclist Bradley Wiggins racing to the individual time trial gold at the 2012 London Olympics. The previous year, he was given Fluimucil after the Criterium du Dauphine.
British cyclist Bradley Wiggins racing to the individual time trial gold at the 2012 London Olympics. The previous year, he was given Fluimucil after the Criterium du Dauphine.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Scrutiny of the "medical package" sent by courier to France for Bradley Wiggins has intensified after Team Sky admitted that the same drug said to be in the Jiffy bag had been bought three months earlier, in a pharmacy just a three-hour drive away.

The cycling team said that they had previously bought Fluimucil from a pharmacy in Yverdon, Switzerland, in April 2011.

In June that year, Dr Richard Freeman ordered a package of what he said was the same legal drug to be collected from British Cycling in Manchester and taken by courier via train to London, then by air to Geneva and finally in a hire car to La Toussuire in France to be administered to Wiggins after the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

The revelation has come in response to written questions from Britain's culture, media and sport select committee, whose chairman, Damian Collins MP, said that he remained baffled by why Freeman had gone to such lengths to deliver the decongestant when it was available nearby.

"It makes it even less clear now why the package had to be collected from Manchester and flown out from the UK when we now know it was being sourced from a Swiss pharmacy just two or three hours' drive away," Collins said. "The more we know about the package, the less sense any of it makes."

Less than a month later, Wiggins was given the first of three therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to take the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone to treat a pollen allergy.

The TUEs have also been controversial as each exemption was secured ahead of three of his biggest races.

Team Sky's response to the select committee also states that "less than 10" of the 55 vials of triamcinolone ordered from 2010-13 were administered to riders.

The team would not say which other riders were given triamcinolone - citing medical confidentiality - or how many were given the drug.

London's Sunday Times has reported a medical source in Team Sky saying that Wiggins, 36, was the only rider in the team with depressed cortisol levels, indicating cortisone use between 2012-15.

Collins said: "I don't understand how it would be a breach of medical confidentiality to tell us how many of their riders have been treated. Surely it is not an issue to reveal the number unless it was actually only given to one rider."

Team Sky was also asked to account for the failure of Freeman to upload copies of Wiggins' record to a Dropbox folder with shared online access to other team doctors.

UK Anti-Doping has revealed that Freeman did not do so and that he said his laptop with the records was stolen in 2014. Team Sky said: "Team Sky is aware that Dr Freeman struggled with his use of Dropbox but Team Sky cannot speak for Dr Freeman as to exactly why."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2017, with the headline 'Team Sky got drug from Swiss pharmacy'. Print Edition | Subscribe