News 15th March 2017

Team Sky states why fluimucil had to be flown to France for Wiggins

In written evidence submitted to the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee of the UK Parliament, Team Sky has stated why fluimucil had to be flown out to Sir Bradley Wiggins after the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné, despite the anti-mucus drug being available in France. However, as Team Sky’s Dr. Richard Freeman had previously ordered the type of fluimucil that Team Sky uses from a pharmacy in Yverdon, Switzerland, questions remain as to why that approach was not utilised again. Yverdon is about 250km by road from La Toussuire, where the Criterium finished and less than 350km by road from Sestriere, Italy, where Wiggins was heading for a training camp.

‘The pharmacy from which Dr Freeman purchased Fluimucil 3ml 10% ampoules in April 2011 was called “Pharmacie de la Plaine”, with address Rue de la Plaine, 1400 Yverdon’, read Team Sky’s response to questions from the CMS Committee, published yesterday (PDF below). ‘The issue [of whether or not Dr. Freeman had prescription rights in France] would have made no difference with respect to the events of 12 June 2011 since the particular form of Fluimucil (i.e. 3ml, 10% ampoule form for use in a nebulizer) that Team Sky uses and that Dr Freeman needed is not – to Team Sky’s knowledge – available for sale in France’.

Fluimucil is not prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), however there have been allegations that the infamous ‘jiffy bag’ couriered from the Manchester velodrome at a cost of £1,263.90 by women’s road coach Simon Cope contained triamcinolone. As it is a glucocorticoid, triamcinolone’s use is prohibited in competition (IC) via ‘oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes’, however its use is permitted via other routes and out of competition (OOC).

One of the key aspects of UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead’s evidence to the CMS Committee was that the amount of triamcinolone held in the Manchester velodrome was more than Wiggins would have required. ‘Based on Team Sky’s shared medical records, less than 10 ampoules of Triamcinolone were administered to Team Sky riders in the four years between 2010 to 2013’, read Team Sky’s evidence, above, to the CMS Committee. ‘It is important to emphasise again that we would only ever allow Triamcinolone to be provided as a legitimate and justified medical treatment in accordance with the applicable anti-doping rules’.

Team Sky also published a document on its internet site on 7 March, providing details about its use of both fluimucil and triamcinolone. ‘Fluimucil is used to break down mucus/catarrh, and commonly used at road races where these issues can be problems for riders, particularly at high altitude and/or in damp conditions’, read the document (PDF below). ‘The use of Fluimucil in this way is – as noted by UKAD – fairly common within professional cycling and is completely in line with anti-doping rules’.

‘It has been subsequently reported in the media that as many as 70 ampoules of triamcinolone were ordered by Team Sky in 2011 alone’, continues the document. ‘This is incorrect. Our records indicate that 55 ampoules of triamcinolone were ordered by Team Sky over a 4-year period between 2010 and 2013’. As stated in the above evidence submitted to the CMS Committee, under ten ampoules of triamcinolone were administered to Team Sky riders between 2010 and 2013.

However, Team Sky was prepared to admit that mistakes were made. ‘Self-evidently, the events of recent months have highlighted areas where mistakes were made by Team Sky’, read a letter from Sir David Brailsford, Principal at Team Sky (PDF below). ‘Some members of staff did not comply fully with the policies and procedures that existed at that time. Regrettably, those mistakes mean that we have not been able to provide the complete set of records that we should have around the specific race relevant to UKAD’s investigation. We accept full responsibility for this.’

As outlined in Team Sky’s Points of Clarification (above), UKAD is still investigating the situation, which Sapstead told journalists at last week’s Tackling Doping in Sport conference had taken “thousands of man hours”. It is UKAD policy not to comment on the progress of an investigation unless an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) is unearthed. If no ADRV is uncovered, the investigation remains confidential. If that is the case regarding this situation, then speculation will unfortunately continue.

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