UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead criticised British Cycling in a letter ©Getty Images

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) have claimed their “jiffy bag” investigation was “hindered” by British Cycling’s failure to report allegations of potential doping sooner.

UKAD announced in November that no doping charges would be pursued after concluding their investigation, which centred around a package delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Sir Bradley, a five-time Olympic gold medallist who won the 2012 Tour de France, received the "mystery package" during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

Richard Freeman, the doctor at the centre of the controversy, insisted the parcel only contained the legal decongestant fluimucil.

UKAD were unable to verify this claim due to a lack of documentation.

They stated the organisation had been unable to confirm or refute the account that the package delivered to Team Sky contained fluimucil, despite a "very significant effort”.

This resulted in the organisation closing the investigation surrounding the package, often referred to as the "jiffy bag".

In a letter, published by the BBC, UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead stated that British Cycling had an obligation to “report any suspicious or allegations of doping”, but their failure to inform the organisation earlier meant the story had reached “a number of individuals” before UKAD could act.

It was claimed that contact between British Cycling and some members of staff could have “potentially compromised our investigation.”

Sapstead was critical of a lack of documentation and formal medical processes at British Cycling, but acknowledged steps taken to improve medical oversight and record keeping since.

British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington claimed the organisation had made key changes since the investigation began ©Getty Images
British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington claimed the organisation had made key changes since the investigation began ©Getty Images

"We found no formal processes or procedures in place to record the purchase, use, or disposal of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, ie a medical stock-taking system, except for invoices kept by the finance department,” the letter stated.

"There was no process to record what products or supplies were stored by British Cycling at the velodrome or elsewhere, and what was checked in and out of the medical room on site.

"There were no records of pharmaceutical medical supply packages sent by British Cycling to teams competing at events at home or abroad.

"The medical room at the Manchester Velodrome was chaotic and disorganised - there was no apparent filing system, and papers were just piled up in cupboards and filing cabinets.

"Electronic medical records were not kept by British Cycling nor was there any back-up system.

“From some of the Doping Control Forms inspected there is no recording of medication for substances for which UKAD became aware were being administered to riders, albeit legitimately.”

The letter also outlined concerns about the cross-over between personnel at British Cycling and Team Sky.

British Cycling have since published a letter from their chief executive Julie Harrington replying to Sapstead, which was dated December 12, 2017.

Harrington asserted that British Cycling would continue to fully assist further investigations and outlined that UKAD’s findings represented an “organisation and culture that, despite delivering on the world stage, did not meet the high standards to which British Cycling today holds itself.”

She outlined the “significant steps” the organisation had taken to improve governance since the story initially arose, including accepting recommendations made in a review of their medical services.

The investigation centered around a package delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2011 ©Getty Images
The investigation centered around a package delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2011 ©Getty Images

This included the introduction of a head of medical services, establishment of rider health priorities and a clinical governance which will report to the British Cycling Board.

An acknowledgement of concerns related to the close relationship between Team Sky and British Cycling was also given by Harrington.

“The association between British Cycling and Team Sky has been a positive force for cycling in this country,” she wrote.

“However, we accept that the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky developed rapidly and as a result, at times, resulted in the blurring of boundaries between the two.

“This led to some failings in the way that processes and people were managed.

“Today, I can assure you there are clear boundaries and distinctions between our two organisations: no one is simultaneously employed by British Cycling and Team Sky, and we have our own practices in place for managing athlete records.”

When concluding their investigation, UKAD stated it served as a reminder to all those responsible for medical record-keeping within sport to ensure that medical record policies are fit for purpose.

The investigation saw them interview 37 individuals, including current and former employees of British Cycling and Team Sky.

Wiggins welcomed the conclusion of the investigation but claimed the case had been a "living hell", adding "at times it has felt nothing less than a malicious witch hunt."