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British Cycling warned to clean up its act

Press Association logoPress Association 3/03/2017

UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl has warned British Cycling its future funding is dependent on it "restoring credibility" following investigations into allegations of bullying, discrimination and doping.

Nicholl delivered the warning at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, where she was appearing with British Cycling's new chairman Jonathan Browning to announce the governing body's response to claims of bullying and sexism, first made by former Great Britain track rider Jess Varnish last April.

British Cycling's 39-step "action plan" to improve athlete and staff welfare was overtaken by events on Wednesday in London, where the boss of UK Anti-Doping Nicole Sapstead updated MPs on her agency's five-month investigation into denied allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky, its professional road racing offspring.

Among her revelations, Sapstead told the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) select committee that British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman had failed to follow guidelines on keeping and sharing treatment records for 2012 Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, and that the governing body had no idea if drugs in its medical store were intended for its riders or Team Sky's.

Sapstead also said UKAD was no closer to solving the mystery at the heart of its investigation: what was in a jiffy bag hand-delivered to Freeman by a British Cycling coach at the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, a Tour de France warm-up race.

Because no records exist to confirm if the package contained the legal but unlicensed decongestant Fluimucil or the banned and potent corticosteroid Kenalog, she said UKAD was still unsure if Freeman and Wiggins broke anti-doping rules - an allegation both deny.

British Cycling responded to Sapstead's stinging critique of its record-keeping with a penitent statement that admitted "serious failings" in the past and promised an external audit of its current practices.

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