/ Team Sky vindicated

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Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
UKAD has completed its investigation, “Put simply, due to the lack of contemporaneous evidence, UKAD has been unable to definitively confirm the contents of the package. The significant likelihood is that it is now impossible to do so.”

I'm reminded of a councillor being investigated for benefit fraud and the police DCI complaining how he thought that the council chief executive was hiding things from him. Well of course he bloody is, I replied. A resignation but no criminal charges was the result, obviously.
GrahamD - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

I don't think they have been vindicated, have they ? Just not charged because of insufficient evidence.
ClimberEd - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:



> I'm reminded of a councillor being investigated for benefit fraud and the police DCI complaining how he thought that the council chief executive was hiding things from him. Well of course he bloody is, I replied.

I'm not sure I understand what you are getting at here? You were sure the councillor was hiding something because he had done something wrong? Or simply because he was being investigated by the police? Or what?

(my interest is in the analogy to Team Sky, not the actual council/police/you case )

Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to ClimberEd:
> I'm not sure I understand what you are getting at here? You were sure the councillor was hiding something because he had done something wrong? Or simply because he was being investigated by the police? Or what?

Oh, he was guilty, alright. It was the CE who was hiding the evidence.

> (my interest is in the analogy to Team Sky, not the actual council/police/you case )
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to GrahamD:
> I don't think they have been vindicated, have they ? Just not charged because of insufficient evidence.

Well, yes, of course.
cb294 - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> Just not charged because of insufficient willingness to discover any evidence.

FTFY
Rigid Raider - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

My cycling buddy went to University with and is still in personal contact with the BC doctor. He is certain there was no conspiracy but simply a boring old cockup; apparently the good doctor's personal life is a complete mess and his admin is absolutely hopeless, so what happened is no surprise at all.
Chris the Tall - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

Not exactly a surprise - insufficient evidence doesn't prove that they destroyed the evidence, and insufficient record keeping isn't sufficient for them to be charged with an offence. It could lead to Freeman being struck off, but it sounds like he won't be back anytime soon.

FWIW I reckon the jiffy contain Triamcinolone to be administered to Wiggins after the race. It is not banned out of comp, so this is perfectly legal (if not ethical, and not something they want to admit to). However if was administered on race day - even after the race - then technically a doping offence would have been committed, even if it wouldn't have been picked up by a test. So another reason for Sky not to admit it, since the fact that (I believe) Freeman went home that evening would be crucial.

However, regardless of what some might say, Triamcinolone is not EPO or HGH etc. Maybe it should be banned outright, but it isn't now and wasn't then. We shouldn't expect Riders, teams or even doctors to police themselves. If UCI/WADA say you can use this drug in these circumstances, then so be it.

A bit more realism from fans/journos wouldn't go amiss

And it's not as if he had a hidden motor.....

Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Rigid Raider:
> My cycling buddy went to University with and is still in personal contact with the BC doctor. He is certain there was no conspiracy but simply a boring old cockup; apparently the good doctor's personal life is a complete mess and his admin is absolutely hopeless, so what happened is no surprise at all.

I think that you've offered this before. It's also been remarked that such poor record keeping has not been tolerated in other sports and the doctors were moved on; and then there's the package of testosterone intercepted by Steve Peters....
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> And it's not as if he had a hidden motor.....

And the glove doesn't fit, either.
Toby_W on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

What other sports Mike, can you give an example of Doctors being fired or warned about their notes?

Toby

Chris the Tall - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

IIRC the glove in the OJ case was planted by a racist cop in an attempt to strengthen the prosecution case, and back-fired spectacularly

I presume the moral of tale involves respecting due process
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> IIRC the glove in the OJ case was planted by a racist cop in an attempt to strengthen the prosecution case, and back-fired spectacularly

> I presume the moral of tale involves respecting due process

The South Park episode about the trial, rather.
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Toby_W:
> What other sports Mike, can you give an example of Doctors being fired or warned about their notes?

Athletics, remarkably. Also in the evidence to the select committee: 'Giving evidence to the department of culture, media and sport select committee, Warner revealed that Chakraverty’s lax recording of Farah’s medical data had been noted on his annual appraisal form, following a 2015 review into the Nike Oregon project where Farah trained.' (Guardian 19 4 17).

Chakraverty has found a more comfortable berth in the England football set-up.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

No that was just the defence's case.
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:
> No that was just the defence's case.

It's interesting how people forget that the trying on the glove was pure theatre.
Chris the Tall - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

Didn't follow the case particularly closely, so forgive me. Are you saying it was his glove ?
DubyaJamesDubya - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Didn't follow the case particularly closely, so forgive me. Are you saying it was his glove ?

Yes. Basically he was guilty as sin. If you can find watch "O.J.: Made in America" one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Covering not just OJ but all the race relations and historical context too.
JLS on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

Bradley Wiggins' statement in full

Following this morning’s statement from UKAD, it is only now that I have the opportunity to break my silence, give my reaction to the events of the last 14 months and to ask a few questions of my own.

I welcome UKAD’s confirmation that no anti-doping charges are to be brought regarding the so-called ‘jiffy bag’ allegations. It has always been the case that no such charges could be brought against me as no anti-doping violations took place. I am pleased that this has finally been confirmed publicly but there are a large number of questions regarding the investigation which I feel remain unanswered.

Being accused of any doping indiscretion 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.

I have kept my silence throughout this period to allow UKAD to conduct their investigation in the most professional way possible and so as not to undermine it. This is despite widespread and unfounded speculation in the press, being hounded on my door step and having commentators and professional riders wading in without knowing all the facts.

This period of time has been a living hell for me and my family, full of innuendo and speculation. At times it has felt nothing less than a malicious witch hunt.

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.

UKAD’s findings this morning have left me with a series of my own questions;

- Where did the information come from to launch the investigation?
- Who was the source?
- What exactly did that person say and to whom?
- Why did UKAD deem it appropriate to treat it as a credible allegation?
- Surely it is now in the public interest to reveal this source?
- Why has it taken so long for these conclusions to be drawn?
- How much tax payers money has been spent so far on this investigation?

I want to make it plain and clear that I have done everything in my power to assist UKAD with their investigation. I was interviewed for over 90 minutes on November 28th 2016, and I also handed over to UKAD’s investigators all the relevant medical records available to me. I have not subsequently been contacted by UKAD to query anything I said or any information I provided. Nor have I been asked for any additional information.

During my career, like any other professional sportsperson, I relied heavily on the professional team around me, whether that be coaches, trainers or more pertinently medical practicioners. The medical documentation concerning my treatment was something absolutely out of my control. I put ultimate trust in the team around me to do their jobs in their specific field of expertise to the same standard that I would expect of myself on the bike. Had the infrastructure for precise record keeping being in place this investigation would never have started.

Much criticism has been made of Dr Freeman. I have always felt, and still feel, that he is a very good physician and treated me and others with great care and respect.

For now, I would implore the media to give me and my family space, and repsect our privacy. I plan on making on further public statement at this point as I assess which legal options to pursue.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank those who have stood by me and my family while this dark cloud has been over us.
Bradley Wiggins
15th November 2017
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to JLS:
> UKAD’s findings this morning have left me with a series of my own questions;
> - Where did the information come from to launch the investigation?
> - Who was the source?
> - What exactly did that person say and to whom?
> - Why did UKAD deem it appropriate to treat it as a credible allegation?
> - Surely it is now in the public interest to reveal this source?
> - Why has it taken so long for these conclusions to be drawn?
> - How much tax payers money has been spent so far on this investigation?

For a man who doesn't like witch hunts he's sure got a taste for the pursuit of the truth.
Lord of Starkness - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:
Spare a thought in all of this for Wiggo's kids. I have it on very good authority that they have been subject to an unfair amount of abuse which has let to their having to move schools, and he has moved house to shield them unwelcome media attention at his home.

Some people in our club know him very well indeed and are adamant that Wiggo would not have knowingly done anything that constitutes doping. (TUE's are a rather grey area, and virtually all top pro riders have had them at some stage as prescribed by their medical team)

Team Sky's record keeping was at best lamentable - but that is not proof of wrongdoing.

What is wrong with innocent until proven guilty - or is trial by antisocial media acceptable these days?.
Post edited at 16:42
Phil79 - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Rigid Raider:
> My cycling buddy went to University with and is still in personal contact with the BC doctor. He is certain there was no conspiracy but simply a boring old cockup; apparently the good doctor's personal life is a complete mess and his admin is absolutely hopeless, so what happened is no surprise at all.

Fair enough, buts its still amazing that in 2011 at the height of success, and with a budget of around £16m, they were unable to keep a basic records of what medicine was distributed to who?

Especially as Dave Brailsford line was always that Team sky would be whiter than white.
Post edited at 16:55
JLS on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

>"For a man who doesn't like witch hunts he's sure got a taste for the pursuit of the truth."

Indeed. He sounds very bitter but that could purely be down to the unwarranted attention that, as Lord of Starkness points out, has been been visited upon his family.

I'm with Lord of S on this. I don't think there ever was a real doping story here.
Sir Chasm - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> For a man who doesn't like witch hunts he's sure got a taste for the pursuit of the truth.

Do you not think they're reasonable questions when you've been accused?
JLS on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Phil79:

>"Fair enough, buts its still amazing that in 2011 at the height of success, and with a budget of around £16m, they were unable to keep a basic records of what medicine was distributed to who?"

Welcome to corporate world!

Incompetence always sounds like *very* plausible excuse to me.
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> Do you not think they're reasonable questions when you've been accused?

That's a point of view, certainly, but I think that he presents himself as slightly nutty. I particularly enjoyed the bit where he says that he wants to be left alone while he consults his lawyers over who to sue first.
Phil79 - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to JLS:

> Incompetence always sounds like *very* plausible excuse to me.

Yeah fair point I guess, equally guilty of this in the engineering field I work in.
Sir Chasm - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> That's a point of view, certainly, but I think that he presents himself as slightly nutty. I particularly enjoyed the bit where he says that he wants to be left alone while he consults his lawyers over who to sue first.

And I particularly enjoy your inability to answer a simple question.
Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> And I particularly enjoy your inability to answer a simple question.

OK, let's take one at random: who was the source? Assuming that there was just one whistleblower, is it a wise thing to reveal who it was?
Chris the Tall - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Phil79:

> Especially as Dave Brailsford line was always that Team sky would be whiter than white.

Was it ?

Because he also said that they would go up to the line, but not cross it. Which can be read as saying they wouldn't used anything they weren't allowed, but everything they were !

A lot of the whiter than white stuff only came about when Lance made his confession, which coincided with Wiggins winning the tour. Suddenly Sky were under intense scrutiny whilst most of the other teams just quietly got on with business as usual. So whilst Sky were getting rid of staff with the slightest hint of a dodgy past, the likes of Vino and Riis continued to run teams. And whilst Sky got all the flak over Lienders, the fact that Nibali was working with Pantani's personal doctor barely raised an eyebrow.

There is also a problem here of unrealistic expectations.

We keep on being told that Triamcinoline is a banned substance, it isn't. You can use it out of comp. You can use it in comp, up to a certain threshold. You can use it in comps, with a TUE. Now as fans we are going to get a bit uncomfortable with athletes taking medicine to improve performance, but it's naive to believe that they are just riding on bread and water. When is a supplement a Performance enhancing drug ? Simple - it's when the authorities say it is.

Never mind a medal factory, think of it more a sausage factory, and you don't really want to see what goes on inside.




Mike Highbury - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> Never mind a medal factory, think of it more a sausage factory, and you don't really want to see what goes on inside.

Maybe people do. But then there's the testosterone patches, or were they for Brailsford's dodgy knee?
Sir Chasm - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> OK, let's take one at random: who was the source? Assuming that there was just one whistleblower, is it a wise thing to reveal who it was?

It's fairly fundamental. If I go to the police and accuse you of exposing yourself, it would be quite reasonable for you to ask "who said that?" when pulled in by the fuzz. You see you've conflated "is this a reasonable question?" with "can we answer this reasonable question?" . But it's silly to say it isn't a reasonable question.
andymac - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

My overriding memory of this episode will always be some of Sir Dave's defensive interviews .

To say he was squirming is putting it lightly.

There were involuntary arm and hand gestures everywhere.

Chris the Tall - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Simple question for you to answer.

Are you planning to add anything useful to the conversation ?
Sir Chasm - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Simple question for you to answer.

> Are you planning to add anything useful to the conversation ?

That's a bit harsh, nobody else has.
Yanis Nayu - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

The issues demanded questioning and attention, and there can’t be a situation where those questions can’t be asked because some idiots might give the kids a hard time.

The whole thing stank, Sky and Wiggins have dodged a bullet and the failure to keep records should constitute a team doping offence in its own right.
captain paranoia - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> For a man who doesn't like witch hunts he's sure got a taste for the pursuit of the truth.

Pursuit of the truth is not a witch hunt.

A witch hunt is the pursuit of a predetermined outcome; a confession, regardless of the truth. To go back to the origin of the term, involving torture and deceit to extract confession from the innocent accused (innocent because witchcraft is an impossibility).
Chris the Tall - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to JLS:

He has every right to be angry with press, and especially the daily hate, but his anger over the leak is less acceptable

Let’s not forget that the Jiffy bag story arose because BC’s women’s coach wasn’t doing his job properly, and instead moonlighting as a courier for Team Sky. And where is he now - DS for team Wiggins!

It’s a pity that people have focused on the doping angle and neglected the blatant sexism at the centre of British Cycling.

ClimberEd - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to JLS:

Agreed.
One of my best friends is a brilliant doctor. No one, friend or colleague would argue against that. He is also very moral, nobody, friend or colleague would argue against that.
He is f*cking awful at taking notes, admin, letters, reports etc. Just the way he is. No on, friend, colleague, or him, would argue against that.

Very plausible that he the makes diagnosis, (accurately), prescribes the best 'cure' and totally screws up the paperwork.

Just s thought
GrahamD - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

To me the whole episode was never really a doping one. It was always more of an honesty and credibility one. Wiggo in particular was put on a pedestal by the public at large in part because of his quirkiness but mainly because he represented (or was presented as) a fresh and totally clean new start for the sport of cycling. It’s the misrepresentation that irks
Avinash Aujayeb - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Rigid Raider:

I think the general medical council will have a lot to say on poor documentation/how information was stored etc. Whilst there will be sympathy/empathy about his personal life, I have seen/known people be in a lot of trouble with the GMC for a lot less
DubyaJamesDubya - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> For a man who doesn't like witch hunts he's sure got a taste for the pursuit of the truth.

????????????
DubyaJamesDubya - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> That's a point of view, certainly, but I think that he presents himself as slightly nutty. I particularly enjoyed the bit where he says that he wants to be left alone while he consults his lawyers over who to sue first.

And you sound like someone who has made up there mind.
Rigid Raider - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Avinash Aujayeb:

> I think the general medical council will have a lot to say on poor documentation/how information was stored etc. Whilst there will be sympathy/empathy about his personal life, I have seen/known people be in a lot of trouble with the GMC for a lot less

The poor record keeping is BC's and Sky's biggest embarrassment. From The Guardian:

"Riders have privately described Freeman’s former medical room inside the cycling centre as “chaotic”, with piles of papers stacked up and no obvious filing system. Freeman admitted he relied on his own note-keeping, finding Dropbox – a file-sharing system used by other Team Sky doctors – “difficult to use”. But he claimed the laptop on which he kept his notes was later stolen while he was on holiday in Greece."
GrahamD - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> The poor record keeping is BC's and Sky's biggest embarrassment.

I disagree. Sky's biggest embarrassment was that its star rider and public hero was caught telling lies about his health and medication (even if it was legal)

malk - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Do you not think they're reasonable questions when you've been accused?

has he even responded to the accusers questions?
cb294 - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

But why not say there was flumicil in the bag from the off? Why claim the medication was for a female rider, who unfortunately was competing in a different country?
The whole think stinks to high heaven, but then we are talking about cycling, so no illusions here.

However, if you can derail a doping investigation through shit documentation, UKAD are not much better than their Russian counterparts. You can be complicit by being deliberately incompetent.

CB
Toby_W on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to malk:

I feel for him and don't think he's a doper but what did he expect. I remember all his interviews during the tour and how rude and angry he got every time he was asked about doping. He was winning the big race after a load of dopers in a dope ridden sport, then in his biog says no needles.... oh except those ones we found out about later and they're different, then the timing of the TUEs and finally in the statement above he says he trusted the team to do their job (heard that before, you know I thought they were vitamin injections, trusted the team).
He's a great rider but has he no awareness for the arena and profession he's worked in for the last 20 years.

I don't think he's done anything wrong other than be naive? stupid? an arse, himself? For this he gets a tonne of grief when other convicted dopers get almost none and are fawned upon.

Yep, I feel for him.

Cheers

Toby

Mike Highbury - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Toby_W:
> Yep, I feel for him.

But it's not just about BW, no matter how much the news and social media focus attention on him. It's about BC and Sky and several other sports for that matter. In spite of Freeman's debilitating illness and Coe's aggression and refusal to comply, the parliamentary committee may well provide a report worth reading. In the meantime, UKAD continues with its investigation into the good doctor's own mystery package, the testosterone patches that turned up without so much as a by your leave.
Lord of Starkness - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> But it's not just about BW, no matter how much the news and social media focus attention on him.

That's the shitty bit - particularly when it impacts on his family - he was the most high profile 'face' to be caught up in the shoddy bookkeeping debacle and it has hurt his kids.

I've no doubt that Brad has kept to the correct side of the line throughout his long and illustrious career. Few can match his palmares encompassing track, stage racing and time trialling.

> It's about BC and Sky and several other sports for that matter. In spite of Freeman's debilitating illness and Coe's aggression and refusal to comply, the parliamentary committee may well provide a report worth reading. In the meantime, UKAD continues with its investigation into the good doctor's own mystery package, the testosterone patches that turned up without so much as a by your leave.

Agreed - but the media always find it easier to focus on a high profile individual than on an organisation. The British media in particular likes nothing more than to 'bring down' our heroes.

GrahamD - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

> I've no doubt that Brad has kept to the correct side of the line throughout his long and illustrious career.

It depends where you think the 'line' was, doesn't it ? if its the letter of the rules then I'd agree. If you think it was a line defined by the new 'clean and transparent era of cycling' heralded by Sky and roundly supported by BW then its much more debatable.

Lion Bakes on 18 Nov 2017
Mike Highbury - on 18 Nov 2017
In reply to Lion Bakes: The first person to render that into standard English gets an unused rock 9 on cord.

Lion Bakes on 18 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> The first person to render that into standard English gets an unused rock 9 on cord.

I am sure with a little more effort you will be able to read it.
Chris the Tall - on 18 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

1) Shane Sutton is a bully
2) Team Sky used medical techniques that were legal at the time, and standard practice, but which have since been banned
3) Team Sky didn’t break the rules, but weren’t as ethically pure as they allowed people to believe
4) Everything wasn’t fluffy and friendly in the medal factory
Mike Highbury - on 18 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:
Yes, quite, it's hardly a smoking gun, is it?

Did want to add that SS is the one wreaking the most havoc in this whole affair. He really is very good value, isn't he?
Post edited at 18:14
Chris the Tall - on 18 Nov 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

You have to wonder what Sutton’s new employer - the Chinese cycling federation - will be making of all these revelations....
Si_G - on 18 Nov 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> You have to wonder what Sutton’s new employer - the Chinese cycling federation - will be making of all these revelations....

Probably rubbing their hands as they fire up the CRISPR.

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