British drug fighters were told about the private drug tests of riders by British Cycling two years ago
A whistleblower wrote to UK Anti-Doping two years ago, expressing concern about the private drug tests of riders by British Cycling.
Sportsmail understands that a letter was sent to UKAD in 2019 asking why the governing body was allowed to conduct its own investigation of a potential baptist before London 2012.
The Mail on Sundays revealed that a 2010 urine sample from a British team member contained an unusual amount of banned steroid nandrolone.
Dr. Richard Freeman was one of the men involved in events created by the Mail on Sunday
UKAD is now being investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency for seemingly allowing British Cycling to run their own follow-up tests rather than overseeing them themselves.
But this isn’t the first time UKAD has been questioned about the episode, with the whistleblower urging the current administration to investigate the historic chain of events.
At the time UKAD received the letter in 2019, any potential doping violation was within the 10-year statute of limitations for sanctions. That is now over, so a rider could not be punished if it turned out that he had been baptized.
UKAD’s chief executive Nicole Sapstead was in her position when the 2019 letter was sent
UKAD’s chief executive Nicole Sapstead was in her position when the 2019 letter was sent, having been appointed in 2015.
She replaced Andy Parkinson, who was in charge at the time of the 2010 nandrolone sample. Sapstead was then the operations director.
It is not known whether UKAD responded to the letter in 2019 or investigated the whistleblower’s allegations.
A UKAD spokesperson said last night: “We receive a significant number of intelligence reports every year. All information communicated to UKAD is taken seriously and treated with the highest degree of confidentiality and discretion. To protect the confidentiality of the investigation process, it is not always possible to respond or provide updates on lines of investigation following an information report.
“We have a rigorous process for receiving and processing all information that comes to us.”
The BC management team involved in the testing at the time were performance director Dave Brailsford (L), performance manager Shane Sutton (C) and psychologist Steve Peters (R)
The revelations leave a cloud of suspicion over the achievements of British cyclists in London 2012, where they won 12 medals, including eight golds.
This month, Dr. Richard Freeman, the former chief physician of British Cycling and Team Sky, was found guilty of ordering banned testosterone in 2011 ‘knowing or believing’ it was to baptize an unnamed rider. He has since been removed from the medical register.
Freeman was also one of the men involved in the events of 2011 run by the Mail on Sunday and have now lit a WADA probe.
The controversial episode began when a urine sample from a British team member was found to contain traces of nandrolone in late 2010 after an out-of-competition test. The performance enhancing steroid Nandrolone is a ‘threshold substance’, the amount of which in a sample must be above certain levels in order to be triggered by anti-doping measures.
Sources say UKAD’s then head of legal department Graham Arthur tipped off British Cycling’s senior management about the test showing that one of their riders’ samples contained low levels of the steroid.
Freeman (second from left) was found guilty of ordering banned testosterone in 2011 ‘knowing or believing’ it was to baptize an unnamed rider and scraped
Sportsmail does not mention the rider.
Nandrolone can occur naturally in the body, through contaminated supplements or through doping.
The national governing body responded by privately testing the urine of a group of riders at HFL Sport Science in Cambridgeshire – a non-WADA lab – to rule out innocent statements.
No findings have been made public and UKAD has ‘no record’ of the results. Clearly, the samples came back clean and showed no indication of naturally occurring levels of nandrolone.
WADA is now investigating the matter because their code appears to compel UKAD – rather than a sport’s governing body – to conduct such doping investigations.
A WADA spokesperson said: “We have asked our independent intelligence and investigation department to investigate this matter and contact UKAD for more information.
The letter to UKAD asked why British Cycling was allowed to conduct their own investigation of a potential baptist before London 2012 (pictured)
“Any allegation that a national governing body tests its athletes privately, in a non-accredited laboratory, for the purpose of screening for a banned substance, must be thoroughly investigated.”
A UKAD spokesperson said: “We are working with WADA to investigate claims related to private testing conducted by British Cycling in 2011. UKAD is examining records to confirm decisions made in 2011 under a WADA-established process. ‘
The UKAD statement added, “The guiding principle is that tracking findings can be used to help decide who is tested and when in the future, but does not automatically lead to an investigation.”
A British Cycling spokesperson said: ‘We cannot fully comment on this story at this stage as the events took place over 10 years ago and none of the senior management teams involved have worked for British Cycling for some time.
“We are reviewing such archived documents that exist from this period and while that is not a simple or quick process, we will share the findings with relevant parties.”
How the controversy unfolded …
- The British cyclist was tested for drugs in 2010 and his sample was found to contain traces of nandrolone, a banned performance-enhancing substance.
- UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) gave British Cycling a tip about the abnormal sample.
- British Cycling again tested a group of riders in a lab that was not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after UKAD gave them permission.
- The riders’ samples are believed to have come back negative, but UKAD has no record of the results.
- WADA is now investigating why UKAD allowed British Cycling to conduct private testing rather than conducting their own.