Team Sky principal reveals contents of mystery package and admits mishandling issue

Team Sky principal reveals contents of mystery package and admits mishandling issue

Dave Brailsford has finally revealed what was in a mystery package delivered to a French ski resort in 2011 but questions remain over his handling of the issue.

The Team Sky principal's revelation that the Jiffy bag taken by a British Cycling coach from Manchester to the Dauphine Libere's final stage at La Toussuire contained Fluimucil - a decongestant - was made before the Culture, Media and Sport select committee in Westminster on Monday.

The bookends of more than four hours of testimony were provided by two men from British Cycling, president Bob Howden and ethics panel chair Dr George Gilbert, and two men from the World Anti-Doping Agency, president Craig Reedie and director general Olivier Niggli, but true enlightenment could only come from Brailsford and his friend and former Team Sky coach Shane Sutton.

First, Sutton revealed that the delivery, which he "arranged" for British Cycling physio Phil Burt to hand to women's team coach Simon Cope and for him to take it, via Geneva airport, to Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman, was a "medical product" and was "administered" to star rider Sir Bradley Wiggins, who had just won that race.

This was the first time anybody linked to the team had admitted this in the 10 weeks since the claim first surfaced in the Daily Mail, allegations that have prompted a UK Anti-Doping investigation into alleged "wrongdoing" at British Cycling and Team Sky.

That investigation is still ongoing and, prior to Monday, had shut down any conversation about what happened that day, or why Wiggins would three weeks later ask for the first of three medical exemptions to take the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone before his three biggest races in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The MPs on the committee did not get much more out of Brailsford and Sutton on the decision-making process behind applying for those exemptions but Brailsford opened up over the package.

Having been assured by the commission's chairman Damian Collins that UKAD had given the hearing permission to discuss the package, Brailsford smiled and said "he was happy to do so".

"Dr Freeman told me it was Fluimucil for a nebuliser. That what was in the package," he explained.

Brailsford also denied any knowledge of Wiggins or any of his other riders taking triamcinolone out of competition, when it is allowed by WADA, and repeatedly stated his team's "world-leading culture" with regards to clean sport.

The 52-year-old did, however, make one big confession, admitting that the 2012 Tour de France champion's need for a product to treat excess mucus should never have got to a parliamentary hearing.

"Of course it should never have got here," said Brailsford, whose team has won four of the last five Tours de France.

"There's always lessons to be learned and you start with yourself. I could have done a lot better, quite frankly.

"They (Team Sky riders and employees) don't deserve to have this shadow cast over them. These are people who are performing fantastically well, who don't deserve that, and it pains me that they've had any doubt cast over them because of my actions."

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