Team Sky have denied that they and British Cycling were the subject of a "raid" by anti-doping investigators on Friday.
The 'Daily Mail' reports that investigators arrived at the velodrome as part of investigations into an allegation made by former Sky cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke that he was offered the pain-killer Tramadol at the World Championships in 2012 with Great Britain, despite being injury-free. In the Mail's report, the headline initially termed it a "raid", only to be later altered to read "swoop" after a statement from Sky (see below).
Investigators were said to be looking into another report in the Mail that Simon Cope (who used to work for British Cycling and is now in charge of Team Wiggins, Bradley Wiggins' pro team) flew to Switzerland and drove to La Toussuire in France to deliver an unidentified medical package to Team Sky on the final day of the 2011 Dauphine Libere stage race. Cope then returned home that evening accompanied by Shane Sutton, who was then head coach of Team Sky and British Cycling as well as the personal coach to Wiggins.
When asked if Wiggins had conducted a session at the back of the Team Sky bus following the stage with British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman, Team Sky chief Dave Brailsford said this couldn't have happened as the bus left while Wiggins was performing post-race duties. But, the Mail reports, video evidence exists of Wiggins standing outside the Sky bus after the stage.
Team Sky have released a statement since the Mail piece was released refuting any claims that the presence of the investigators was the result of a "raid" and saying that "UKAD attended a meeting with British Cycling at the Velodrome in Manchester with their full co-operation".
These revelations all come at a bad time for Brailsford, Sky and British Cycling. They have spent the last few weeks fire-fighting after the 'Fancy Bears' hacking group released Therapeutic Use Exemption certificates showing Bradley Wiggins to have taken high amounts of triamcinolone (a drug he uses for respiratory problems) days before three Grand Tours. Pressure on Brailsford is building by the week as the media close in on Team Sky, around whom questions have always been raised due to their dominance at the top level of cycling.
In a statement immediately following the revelations surrounding the "package", Team Sky said that after the Mail's piece they "immediately conducted an internal review", finding "no wrongdoing".
However, questions will still persist, and all this bad publicity is sure to be causing discontent among the bigwigs at Sky, which would place in doubt the future of the team that popularised the term "marginal gains".
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