A whistleblower wrote to UK Anti-Doping two years ago expressing concerns over British Cycling drug testing.
Sports messaging understands that a letter was sent to UKAD in 2019 asking why the governing body was allowed to conduct its own investigation into a potential dope before London 2012.
Sunday mail revealed that a 2010 urine sample from a member of the UK team contained an unusual amount of the banned steroid nandrolone.
Dr Richard Freeman was one of the men involved in the events uncovered by the Mail on Sunday
UKAD is currently under investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency for apparently allowing British Cycling to perform its own follow-up tests rather than supervising them themselves.
But this is not the first time UKAD has been questioned about the episode, with the whistleblower urging the current administration to look into the historical chain of events.
By the time UKAD received the letter in 2019, any potential doping offense fell within the 10-year limitation period for sanctions. This has now passed, so a runner cannot be punished if he is found to be doped.
UKAD Executive Director Nicole Sapstead was at her post when the 2019 letter was sent
UKAD Executive Director Nicole Sapstead was in her post when the 2019 letter was sent, having been appointed in 2015.
She replaced Andy Parkinson, who was in charge at the time of the 2010 nandrolone sample. Sapstead was then the director of operations.
It is not known whether UKAD responded to the letter or looked into the whistleblower’s allegations in 2019.
A UKAD spokesperson said last night: “We receive a significant number of intelligence reports every year. All information transmitted to UKAD is taken seriously and treated with the highest levels of confidentiality and discretion. To protect the confidentiality of the investigation process, it is not always possible to respond or provide updates on the lines of investigation that follow an information report.
“We have a rigorous process to receive and process all the information that comes to us.”
The BC management team involved in the testing at the time were performance director Dave Brailsford (left) Shane Sutton (left) and psychologist Steve Peters (right).
The revelations leave a cloud of suspicion over the performances of British cycling stars in London 2012, where they won 12 medals – including eight gold.
This month, Dr Richard Freeman, former chief medical officer for British Cycling and Team Sky, was convicted of ordering banned testosterone in 2011 ‘knowing or believing’ it was to dope a cyclist anonymous. He has since been removed from the medical register.
Freeman was also one of the men involved in the events of 2011 which were discovered by the Mail on Sunday and have now triggered an investigation by WADA.
The controversial episode began when a urine sample from a member of the UK team was found to contain traces of nandrolone following an out-of-competition test in late 2010. The enhancer steroid nandrolone performance is a “threshold substance”, where the amount found in the sample must be above certain levels to trigger anti-doping action.
Sources claim that UKAD legal official Graham Arthur has informed British Cycling senior management of the test showing that samples from one of their runners contained a low level of the steroid.
Freeman (second from left) was convicted of ordering banned testosterone in 2011 “knowing or believing” it was to dope an anonymous runner and struck off
Sports messaging do not name the rider.
Nandrolone can occur naturally in the body, from contaminated supplements, or through doping.
The national governing body responded by testing the urine of a group of runners privately at HFL Sport Science in Cambridgeshire – a non-AMA lab – to rule out any innocent explanation.
No results have been made public and UKAD has “no record” of the results. It is understood that the samples came back clean and showed no indication of natural levels of nandrolone.
WADA is currently investigating the matter because its code appears to oblige UKAD – rather than a sport’s governing body – to conduct such anti-doping investigations.
A spokesperson for WADA said: “We have asked our independent intelligence and investigation service to look into this matter and contact UKAD for further information.
The letter sent to UKAD asked why British Cycling was allowed to conduct its own investigation into a potential dope before London 2012 (pictured)
“Any allegation that a national governing body may test its athletes in private, in an unaccredited laboratory, for the purpose of testing for a banned substance should be fully investigated. “
A UKAD spokesperson said: “We are working with WADA to investigate the allegations relating to the private testing carried out by British Cycling in 2011. UKAD is examining the records to confirm the decisions that were made in 2011 in accordance with due process established by WADA. “
The UKAD statement added: “The indications are that the trace results can be used to help decide who will be tested and when in the future, but will not automatically lead to an investigation. “
A spokesperson for British Cycling said: ‘We are unable to give a full comment on this story at this point as the events took place over 10 years ago and none of the management teams involved has worked for British Cycling for quite some time.
“We are reviewing these archived documents that exist from this period and, while it is not a quick or easy process, we will share the results with the parties concerned. “
How the controversy unfolded …
- A British cyclist was tested for drugs in 2010 and his sample contained traces of nandrolone, a banned performance-enhancing substance.
- UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) informed British Cycling of the abnormal sample.
- British Cycling has again tested a group of runners at a laboratory not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after UKAD gave them clearance.
- It appears that the runners’ samples have tested negative but UKAD has no record of the results.
- WADA is currently investigating why UKAD allowed British Cycling to conduct private testing instead of conducting its own investigation.