International Cycling

Wiggins reveals 'living hell' after doping probe ditched

2017-11-15 20:21
Bradley Wiggins (File)

London - British cycling great Bradley Wiggins said he and his family had been subjected to "living hell" after United Kingdom Anti-Doping said on Wednesday it would not be charging him over a mystery package he received in 2011.

Wiggins, the first British winner of the Tour de France, also warned he would consider his legal options after UKAD did not issue an "unqualified finding of innocence".

A 14-month inquiry was launched in September 2016 after British newspaper the Daily Mail reported a mystery package meant for now retired Tour de France winner Wiggins had been delivered to Team Sky during a 2011 race in France.

"This period of time has been a living hell for me and my family," Wiggins, 37, said on Twitter.

"At times it has felt like nothing less than a malicious witch hunt," added the five-time Olympic gold medallist.

Wiggins, Sky and British Cycling were all told they would not face any charges for wrongdoing after UKAD said they had been hampered by a lack of "contemporaneous evidence".

It was subsequently alleged the package contained a banned corticosteroid but Wiggins's then doctor, Richard Freeman, insisted it was the decongestant fluimucil, a legal substance.

Freeman revealed he had lost a lone written record confirming this when his laptop was stolen while he was on holiday.

Wiggins, who made history by winning the Tour de France in 2012, said he had been "hounded", as he gave his reaction to UKAD's announcement in a lengthy tweeted statement.

"It is the worst possible thing for any professional sportsperson, especially when it is without any solid factual basis and you know the allegation to be categorically untrue," wrote Wiggins.

He said he had remained silent for so long because he did not want to "undermine" an ongoing investigation.

Wiggins also said he had been subjected to "widespread and unfounded speculation in the press" that saw him "hounded" as pundits and fellow riders "waded in without knowing all the facts".

As for UKAD's inconclusive finding, a clearly angry Wiggins said: "To say I am disappointed by some of the comments made by UKAD this morning is an understatement.

"No evidence exists to prove a case against me and in all other circumstances this would be an unqualified finding of innocence.

"The amount of time it has taken to come to today's conclusion has caused serious personal damage, especially as the investigation seems to be predicated on a news headline rather than real, solid information."

Wiggins also questioned UKAD over who was the source of the allegation, why it was considered credible and why their investigation took so long.

Meanwhile Wiggins defended the much-criticised Freeman as "a very good physician (who) treated me and others with great care and respect".

Nevertheless, Wiggins also wrote: "Had the infrastructure for precise record-keeping been in place this investigation would have never started."

Wiggins, who retired after the Rio Olympics last year, said he was grateful to all those "who have stood by me and my family while this dark cloud has been over us".

Read more on:    team sky  |  bradley wiggins  |  cycling
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