Nicole Cooke: 'More questions than answers,' over Wiggins package

Nicole Cooke
Nicole Cooke retired from cycling on 14 January, 2013, at the age of 29

Nicole Cooke says British Cycling has provided "more questions than answers," over the delivery of an over-the-counter drug to Sir Bradley Wiggins.

MP Damien Collins says British Cycling have been unable to deliver the relevant paperwork, though all parties deny any wrongdoing.

Sir Dave Brailsford told the committee the package contained asthma medicine.

"The apparent lack of knowledge of so many in the support staff did not chime with my own experiences," Cooke said.

Wiggins announced his retirement on Wednesday but the contents of the package given to him at the end of a race in France in 2011 are the subject of a UKAD probe into alleged "wrongdoing".

Team Sky principal Brailsford told a Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee last week that the package contained fluimucil, an over-the-counter decongestant available relatively cheaply in France.

Writing in the Guardian, 2008 Olympic road race gold medal winner Cooke says the explanations offered do not adequately explain why Team Sky went to such expense to have the drug delivered by British women's coach Simon Cope.

"At the end of the three hours we were informed by Brailsford that the mysterious content of the jiffy bag was a £10 'decongestant' that was available over the counter in any of eight pharmacies located within 5km of where the team bus was parked in France," Cooke said.

"It was an answer that raised even more questions than we had before, especially now we know Simon Cope spent two days travelling to deliver it."

Cooke, who has spoken out about alleged sexism at British Cycling, also raised concerns about why Cope, a former women's coach at the governing body, was used to transport the package.

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"Why did the top management deem it acceptable to use the publicly funded national women's team road manager, Simon Cope, in the role of a basic courier?" she said.

"As the saga developed this year, Cope came up with information entirely new and disturbing to me. In an interview he said that in 2011 he had 'been working with Sky a lot' and been running training camps with Brad.

"Throughout early 2011 I was attempting to get Cope to run a single training camp for the women riders he was meant to be managing.

"Eventually I got Cope to agree to a camp to prepare for the world championships in Copenhagen and we both proposed it to Brailsford and (former technical director Shane) Sutton - the same pair who apparently think it fine to fly a courier with a £10 med 1,000 miles across Europe.

"I have the email and Sutton's response turning down the training camp suggestion. Nothing was put in its place and so the women went to another world championships without having conducted a single team camp.

Needless to say our team preparation was insufficient."

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