British Cycling says it doesn’t know how bulk corticosteroid order was used

Governing body faces the prospect of funding being withdrawn if it does not follow through on promises to improve

British Cycling’s chair has admitted the organisation does not know where the large quantities of a powerful controlled drug ordered into the body’s Manchester headquarters around the time of Bradley Wiggins’s TUEs has gone.

On Wednesday, the chief executive of UK Anti Doping (UKAD) Nicole Sapstead, who has been in charge of the investigation into a package shipped to Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné told a committee of MPs that the amount of controversial corticosteroid triamcinolone ordered by British Cycling was an “excessive amount being ordered for one person or quite a few people had a similar problem”.

The drug, a powerful treatment for allergies, is allowed to be used out of competition but is controversial because it has been abused in the past to help riders lose weight quickly.

Today, recently appointed British Cycling chair Jonathan Browning confirmed British Cycling did not know what the large amounts of triamcinolone had been used for.

He said: “Unfortunately it appears that those records are not complete.”

He added: “As all of us sitting round the table believe it’s unacceptable that those records were not complete and clear and available.

“That’s not acceptable position. We will be following up exactly as I’ve said in reviewing our medical services and record keeping and we will be fixing these things.”

The sport’s governing body and Team Sky were rocked by a series of revelations on Wednesday, that their medical record keeping was incomplete and that despite interviewing 34 people and dedicating over 1,000 hours of work to their investigation they were unable verify what was in the package couriered to Sky at the Dauphiné in 2011.

Sapstead told MPs that only Dr Richard Freeman, who was working for Sky at the time, had testified that the package contained fluimicil, a legal decongestant.

Even British Cycling physio Phil Burt, who packed the package, told UKAD he could not remember what was in it.

Wiggins was granted TUEs for the corticosteroid triamcinolone during his road career. Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

Liz Nicholl, chair of UK Sport, said she was “shocked” by what she had heard in Parliament.

She said the body’s funding for the Tokyo Olympic cycle would come with the condition that it made changes on medical practices and followed through on its 39-point action plan to improve the culture of the organisation, which it unveiled today following an as-yet unpublished independent review into allegations of sexism and discrimination.

Nicholl said: “The funding hasn’t started flowing yet for Tokyo because the funding for Rio continues up until March 31.

“The funding agreements will be issued in March, but those funding agreements will contain conditions that those action plans that we’ve talked about and these other commitments that British Cycling is now making will be in there as a condition of grant and there will be timescales.”

“I think the new leadership has to restore the credibility of British Cycling by the actions that they are planning to take,” she added.

“We’ve got to give this new leadership a chance. This is a new chair we’re going to have a new CEO a new PD that’s significant change there’s a real opportunity for there to be a new much more open and transparent relationship with the partners here.”

Browning said it was not “sufficient” for British Cycling to be simply clean saying, “We have to demonstrate we are clean.”


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How British Cycling hopes to change culture that led to allegations of sexism and discrimination

Sports governing body sets out action plan based on UK Sport review

British Cycling has set out the steps it will take to change its performance programme following a UK Sport review into the culture within the governing body.

The report, which was commissioned after sprinter Jess Varnish made allegations of sexism against former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton in April 2016, is yet to be published, but British Cycling received a draft copy in December and has now published a “Draft cycling independent review action plan” to work towards the report’s recommendations.

The plan sets out how British Cycling aims to change the culture among leaders and staff, developing “a set of common values, leadership principles and employee behaviours that the whole of British Cycling lives by” and provide better training for Great Britain team staff with a particular focus on interpersonal skills.

>>> British Cycling acknowledges ‘serious failings’ over medical package, while Sky dent wrongdoing

There will also be a number of changes for athletes, making it easier for them to lodge appeals by removing the charge that is currently in place for appeals against decisions concerning the World Class Programme, develop a process to “take account of the views of all athletes (male/female; para/non-disabled; all disciplines)” over the relationships between staff and athletes, and to allow for better representation of rider views with senior management.

British Cycling will also appoint a “Change Manager” to oversee the implementation of the cultural changes, which will take place over the next two years, with a final time scale for each point of action to come with the final version of the action plan.

Speaking about the plan, British Cycling chair Jonathan Browning said that looking after athletes has been and will continue to be key to success.

“I am committed to the principle that for our elite success to be sustainable, we must become leaders for the sector in terms of the way our riders are supported as they join our programmes, as they progress through them and, whatever they have achieved on the way, as they leave,” Browning said.

“I want to see our ex-athletes saying ‘that’s a programme I would like to see my younger sister or brother go through”

>>> Jess Varnish still battling to get full report into sexism complaints from British Cycling

Liz Nicholl, the CEO of UK Sport, said that “valuable lessons” had been learned that would help not only British Cycling, but also other sports governing bodies.

“While the independent review into what potentially needed to change within the culture of British Cycling’s World Class Programme is yet to be concluded the work to date has, as we expected, identified valuable lessons, not only for British Cycling, but also some that we as leaders of the system can implement across all our funded sports.

“The people in our system are our greatest asset and by fully embracing the emerging findings and recommendations of this review, and the implementation of our recently launched Code of Governance for Sport, our system will continue to go from strength to strength.”


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Heather Watson: British number two loses to Kristina Mladenovic in Mexico

Heather Watson

Britain’s Heather Watson lost 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 to France’s Kristina Mladenovic in a three-and-a-half hour battle at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel.

The 24-year-old finally succumbed to Mladenovic, ranked 43 places higher in the world rankings at 30th, with her 18th double fault of the match.

A see-sawing match featured 15 breaks of serve, with Watson converting seven of her 14 chances.

Second seed Mladenovic will play Kirsten Flipkens in the third round.

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IOC warns Tokyo 2020 over men-only golf course

Kasumigaseki Country Club

The International Olympic Committee warns it will move the Tokyo 2020 golf event from its current venue if it does not admit women.

The Kasumigaseki Country Club does not allow women to become full members or play on Sundays.

“I respect it’s a private club but our position is clear. We will only go to a club that has non-discrimination,” said IOC vice president John Coates.

“At some point there has to be a cut-off.”

However Coates added that he does not expect to have to find another host for the event.

Kasumigaseki

“It’s possible to go elsewhere but I think this is going to work out,” he added.

“My understanding is as recent as this week there have been more discussions with the club, that it’s heading in the right direction for them to have a non-discriminatory membership.

“It would appear that we should be able to have this resolved by the end of June.”

In February, club chairman Kiichi Kimura described the controversy as “annoying” after initial internal discussions had not resulted in any decision on Kasumigaseki’s membership policy.

“We are baffled,” he said.