London - The
doctor at the centre of a doping rules row involving British cycling
great Bradley Wiggins has insisted he gave the multiple Olympic champion
a legal decongestant.
UK Anti-Doping is currently investigating just exactly what was in
the contents of a now infamous 'jiffy bag' sent to Dr Richard Freeman at
the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine race in France amid
suggestions it could have contained a banned substance.
Richard Freeman, the then Team Sky doctor, has said the package contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil.
Freeman had been due to appear before a committee of British lawmakers on March 1 but was too ill to attend.
In that hearing Nicole Sapstead, the head of United Kingdom
Anti-Doping, said it was impossible for her to be certain about the
contents of the package as Freeman had told her the relevant medical
records had disappeared when his laptop was stolen while on holiday in
Greece in 2014.
It has been alleged that the package contained the banned corticosteroid triamcinolone.
Freeman was due to appear before the same committee of MPs on that date but withdrew, citing ill health.
However, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has
now published a letter it received from Freeman in which he said the
package contained "only Fluimucil".
Freeman said the Fluimucil was for use in a nebuliser and that many
doctors believe it to be "helpful in managing stage riders, who... are
prone to chestiness and excess respiratory mucus production" because of
the demands of elite-level cycling.
Freeman added he had gone to the trouble of sending the medicine
via a British cycling employee because he wished to avoid a repeat of
the 2002 incident that cost British skier Alain Baxter an Olympic medal
when he bought an over-the-counter nasal spray in the United States that
contained a banned substance not used in the UK version.
Team Sky, Wiggins and Freeman have all repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Freeman said it would have been "desirable" if he kept a copy of his medical notes, adding: "I regret not doing this."
Last week five-time Olympic gold medallist Wiggins promised to "shock
a few people" when he finally comments on the case after the UKAD
inquiry is complete.
Wiggins retired in November last year, some two months after his
medical records were revealed by the Russia-based Fancy Bears computer
British Cycling, which has presided over one of the country's most
successful Olympic sports of recent Games, has also come under fire for
how it dealt with sexism allegations involving former coach Shane
Tuesday saw Britain's Press Association publish a letter from Liz
Nicholl, the chairperson of UK Sport, the national funding agency, to
British Cycling in which she revealed her "serious concerns" about the
way it was dealing with those allegations.
Sutton resigned in April last year after rider Jess Varnish alleged
he had told her to "go and have a baby" following her failure to qualify
for the Rio Olympics.
Later an independent review of British Cycling's performance programme was set up.
According to a leaked copy of the review published this month by the
Daily Mail, British Cycling looked to change the conclusions of its own
original inquiry into Sutton in a bid to retain the highly-regarded