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Bradley Wiggins didn’t cheat and he never asked to be a national treasure

What would we think of Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins if they were Russian, if the Tour de France winner and gold medal Olympian was a recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle the First-Called and not a knighthood? Would we roll out eyes, sneer and demand they get thee hence?

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee says Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky “crossed an ethical line” by using drugs allowed under anti-doping rules to enhance performance instead of just for medical need. Our judgemental MPs are, however, “not in a position” to know the content of a jiffy bag delivered to Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. Team Sky says the jiggy bag contained a legal decongestant. But in the world of big-money sport, wherein vast sums are invested in shaving milliseconds off times and to give your athlete a ‘competitive’ advantage – lighter, stronger bikes; better fabrics; the most energy efficient nutrients; and the drugs – the proof was lacking and the MPs says there is “no “reliable evidence” to back up Team Sky’s claim.

“Drugs were being used by Team Sky, within World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules, to enhance the performance of riders and not just to treat medical need,” the DCMS committee report adds. Team Sky “strongly refutes” the “serious claim that medication has been used by the team to enhance performance”. Wiggins has also responded. “I find it so sad that accusations can be made, where people can be accused of things they have never done, which are then regarded as facts. I strongly refute the claim that any drug was used without medical need.”

Oh, and there’s more:

The long-awaited report, entitled “Combatting Doping in Sport”, also states Lord Coe, the president of athletics’ world governing body the IAAF, gave “misleading answers” in evidence about his knowledge of doping allegations in Russian athletics, before they were made in a German television documentary in 2014.

The DCMS committee was also “shocked” that British four-time Olympic champion athlete Sir Mo Farah received an injection of the legal supplement L-carnitine before the 2014 London Marathon that was not recorded on Farah’s medical records.

It’s what we don’t know that nags and pervades UK sport with a stink.

What was in that jiffy bag?

Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman received a ‘mystery package’ for Wiggins on 12 June 2011 – the final day of the Criterium du Dauphine in France, an event Wiggins won.

At the request of Freeman, Sutton arranged for then British Cycling coach Simon Cope to bring the package – he claims left for him in a sealed ‘jiffy-bag’ – out to La Toussuire for the end of the race.

Both Cope and Sutton deny knowing what was in the package, although Sutton told the committee he believes Freeman did administer the substance in it to Wiggins after the race, adding that Freeman had told him: “Brad’s been sorted.”

Ukad started an investigation into the contents of the package in September 2016, following an allegation, also seen by the DCMS committee, that it contained triamcinolone,

As the DCMS report notes, if Wiggins was given triamcinolone on 12 June 2011 without a TUE, it would constitute an anti-doping rule violation. Get caught misbehaving and you’re in line for a possible two-year ban and the loss of results. Wiggins won the Tour. In 2012 he won Olympic gold. But so what? “If” is not proof.

But there are records, right? There’s data on everything a top athlete does. So there are records of what was in the bag? After all, this is big money we’re talking about, to say nothing of athletes’ reputations. Er, no. Team Sky can’t produce the medical records. Say the MPs: “Such failure was unprofessional and inexcusable, and that failure is responsible for the damaging cloud of doubt which continues to hang over this matter.”

That there’s any doubt is shameful. It’s not like Team Sky had no warning.

Twelve years before, two months before the start of the 1999 Tour de France, US Postal team director Johan Bruyneel asked one of the team’s soigneurs, Emma O’Reilly, to travel from the south of France to Piles in Spain to pick up a medical product and take it to France before handing it on to Lance ­Armstrong.

O’Reilly never knew what the pills were but was sure they were not paracetamol. She met Armstrong in the car park of a McDonald’s restaurant outside Nice and handed over the drugs.

Lance Armstrong turned out to be a monumental cheat.

Team Says responds: “We take full responsibility for mistakes that were made. We wrote to the committee in March 2017 setting out in detail the steps we took in subsequent years to put them right, including, for example, the strengthening of our medical record keeping.”

Pad. Pen. Computers, Mobiles. Crayon. Paper. Photo copiers. Tablets. Faxes. Cameras. Memory sticks. Had only – had only – Team Sky kept some more records. But you live and you learn, eh.

The BBC:

In a letter revealed by the BBC in January, Ukad claimed its investigation had been “hindered” and may have even been “potentially compromised” by British Cycling’s failure to report doping allegations sooner.

The body criticised the “lack of accurate medical records” held by British Cycling. Freeman kept Wiggins’ medical records on a laptop that was stolen while he was on holiday in Greece in 2014, and no back-up copy was made.

Dang! Those foreign swine! But as the Greek police get on the case – those bungling clots have found nothing – we learn that Freeman” submitted written evidence for the report but was too unwell to appear at a DCMS hearing, before resigning from British Cycling in October because of ill health”. Let’s hope his own doctor keeps proper records and backs them up.


Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins accepts his award onstage from The Duchess of Cambridge during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL Arena, London.


The upshot is that Wiggins, a supremely talented athlete possessed of incredible drive to succeed, is mired. He didn’t cheat. He didn’t ask to be knighted and feted by the great and good, turned from athlete to national treasure and a force for moral right. There’s a big stripe of subjectivity running through the story of drugs and Team Sky. Sport is all about rules. You find the limits by pushing. We’ve yet to see any proof that Team Sky broke them. But we have seen how the State latches on to sporting success. And we should wonder why.

As for what was suspected, David Walsh gave his Sunday Times readers the side-eye in September 2016. Walsh has been an invaluable source of news on competitive road cycling and Team Sky. So when he writes, we listen:

With the benefit of hindsight, there is irony in Wiggins expressing fears about other teams using needles when he was interviewed before the 2011 Tour. The day before he had received a 40mg injection of the corticosteroid triamcinolone acetonide. Freeman had made the application and supported it with testimony from ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant Simon Hargreaves. Wiggins did suffer from asthma and had received three TUEs in 2009 that allowed him to inhale salbutamol and two other drugs. Inhalation of these drugs is not performance-enhancing and they can now be used without a TUE. A 40mg injection of triamcinolone is very different and though some experts claim it is not performance-enhancing, the experts by experience (bike riders who have abused it for decades) argue the opposite.

Twelve months later, four days before the start of the 2012 Tour de France, Wiggins received the same injection, 40mg of triamcinolone. Again it was Freeman who applied for the TUE, and UCI’s Mario ­Zorzoli’s name on the approval slip. Ten months later, 12 days before the start of the 2013 Giro d’Italia, another application for triamcinolone was granted.

A year later Wiggins won the 2014 Tour of California as his road racing career began to wind down. That victory came during California’s “hay fever season” but now there was no longer a need for a TUE.

But let’s not just look at cycling. British sport is reeling:

And to UK Athletics, whose former chief medical officer Dr Rob Chakraverty – now the Football Association’s chief doctor for the senior men’s England football team – the MPs want investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC), after being “shocked” he gave an injection of L-carnitine to athlete Sir Mo Farah without recording the dose on medical records.

The upshot is that British sport is a professional industry. Athletes, clubs, coaches and owners seek advantage where they can. It might not be in the Corinthian spirit to take drugs, but we do so love a winner.

Posted: 5th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment

Asthmatics gasp as another British cycling champion is accused of cheating

Has anyone blamed Chris Frome’s failed drugs test on Russia yet? Tour de France winner Frome was found to have high levels of an asthma drug in his urine. He might well be innocent, of course. And if he can explain the discrepancy, Frome will not earn a year-long ban from the sport. He says he is innocent. “My asthma got worse at the Vuelta [a Espana],” says Frome, “so I followed the tram doctor’s advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage. I tok the greatest care to ensure I did not use more than the permissible dose.”

In the meanwhile, the BBC has to work out if the cyclist should appear on Sports Personality of the Year. “It’s a massive headache, one which the BBC should do without,” says a BBC “source” in the Mirror. What asthma sufferers make of it is not mentioned. Presumably, they’re affronted that a man who has apparently overcome the condition with such gusto is being pilloried and possible censored.

Not that this is new. Bradley Wiggins, like Frome a Tour de France winner with Team Sky, has suffered with asthma. And like Frome, treatment of his condition has proven problematic. Perhaps asthmatics should confine their sporting activities to chess and panting down telephone sex lines?

As the BBC gets in a tizz about role models and who is fit to appear on its show, we get a bit more about Frome and Wiggins in the Mail. The paper picks up on a Facebook post by Lady Catherine Wiggins, Sir Bradley’s wife, in which she opines: “I’m going to be sick. Nothing in the news. If I was given to conspiracy theory I’d allege they’d thrown my boy under the bus on purpose to cover for this slithering reptile.” To ensure readers were not left in any doubt as to the identity of the reptile, Lady Wiggins’ post came with a photo of Frome.

Her ladyship has now removed the post and has posted an apology: “Sorry everyone for my emotional comments and insults. Too much stress got the better of me. Heat of the moment thing and certainly not my intent to fan the flames.”

No flames without smoke. Best open the window and let some sunlight and fresh air in. It’s getting claustrophobic for the asthmatics…

PS: what is it with cycling and asthma?

An assessment of the British Cycling team before the 2004 Olympics showed that around 40 per cent had asthma compared to only about eight per cent of the general population. For [Dr John Dickinson] Dickinson, this discrepancy stands to reason.

“Athletes are far more prone to asthma-related problems, mainly because of the environments they’re exposed to and the conditions required by the sport, such as the high breathing rates over prolonged periods.

“Cycling is done outdoors, often in dry, polluted air — there are lots of reasons for the high prevalence.”

And then there are the overtaking estate cars, media vehicles, villagers firing compressed-air horns into your eyeballs, finding the throat to scream “Get out the f***ing way” in French as you ascend a mountain pass Tibetan Sherpas view as a bit on the slippery side of steep, and the organ throttling lycra. It’s a miracle cyclists can breathe at all.

Posted: 15th, December 2017 | In: News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

‘Wanton and furious’ cycling is a crime but speeding on a bike is not

You can break the law is your cycle too fast. The Mail:

Battery-powered bicycles are being modified to travel at almost 30mph – twice the speed permitted in public places – putting owners and pedestrians at risk.

Cyclists fit devices that override a speed sensor on the bikes that cuts the motor at the legal limit of 15.5mph. Others are being sold bikes with motors that exceed the 250-watt power limit permitted on roads.

The Highway Code (rule 124) states speed limits but there are no figures for bicycles. And why is 15.5mph the maximum? How was that ascertained?

This site says:

Cyclists can’t be booked for speeding, but might be fined for ‘cycling furiously’ or ‘riding furiously’ which is an offence under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act. However, cyclists can be convicted for ‘wanton and furious driving’ under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 ( amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1948 (. 58), s. 1()) if they cause bodily harm to any person. They are then guilty of a misdemeanour and could, at the discretion of the court, be imprisoned for up to two years.


You can go fast but not go furious.

Posted: 5th, September 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment

Idiocy in a New York City bike lane

Stay in the bike lane. And stay to the end of this video. It’s not easy.


Spotter New York Times

Posted: 3rd, September 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Sports | Comment

New York Police Criminalise Cycling After Death


WHEN a pedestrian died after being struck by a cyclist in Central Park, the NYPD reacted by launching a blitz on cycling violations.

Last weekened, police handed out 103 fines to riders  29 riders failed to stop for pedestrian and 26 ran red lights.

That seems not unfair.

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Posted: 23rd, September 2014 | In: Sports | Comment

Cycling Team Regrets Going For Beige

Cycling beige



Spotter: @StigAbell


Managing Editor of the Sun. Sunday mornings chatting on LBC.



Posted: 14th, September 2014 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Driver ‘Deliberately’ Runs Into Cyclist In Manchester (Video)

GREATER Manchester Police are seeking the driver of a blue estate car who “intentionally into the back of the cyclist… slamming him to the ground”.

Det Con Darren Byrne says:

“This was a deliberate, shocking attack against an innocent man, who was lucky to escape more serious injury.”



Shocking stuff…

Posted: 30th, April 2014 | In: Reviews | Comment

In 1979 the British Cycling Bureau delivered these ‘Bikes of the future’

IN October 1979, the British Cycling Bureau invited designers to create the “Bike of the future”.


bike of the future


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Posted: 2nd, September 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

Police say middle-aged men in Lycra are now the norm

lycra menMEN of a certain age dressed in Lycra Onesies and Lycra hot pants are on push bikes. It’s an unforgiving symphony of bulges, rolls and boniness. Tim Burton sensibly declined the chance to look like a former roadie for Pan’s People, preferring to wear denims and cotton T-shirt on his cycle.

He was soon stopped by Keynsham terror, PC Keith James.

Mr Burton later tweeted: Just got stopped by the police for ‘not wearing Lycra’ but being on a road bike.” 

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Posted: 26th, May 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment

Criminal investigation starts with Lance Armstrong, but he’ll keep £7.7m

THE problem with Lance Armstrong, now officially a cheat, is that he was tedious. If Armstrong had any discernible personality or was at all eccentric, all this cheating would’ve been really fun. He’s no Jacques Anquetil is he? There’s nothing about Armstrong that says ‘lovable rogue’ or ‘wild man of sport’. He just cheated so he could win.

And that is why everyone doesn’t like him. He’s tedious, ruthless and ambitious and little else.

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Posted: 6th, February 2013 | In: Sports | Comment

Petronella Wyatt and the cyclists: three broken arms and two muggings

COMPARE and contrast:

PETRONELLA WYATT, 19 February 2010, Daily Mail:

Last week I met a friend for coffee. ‘How is your mother?’ she asked. I stared into my latte. ‘Um, she had a serious accident. Her arm is broken.’ ‘Oh, no. What on earth happened?’ ‘She was run down by a bicycle.’

The inevitable convulsion took place in the nerves of my friend’s face. She looked as if she was going to laugh. She could not suppress a gurgling sound before she managed to compose her features into the correct position of commiseration and shock, and say: ‘How awful!’

But once you stop laughing, it isn’t really funny at all. My mother is elderly and frail. She lives in North London, and was crossing the road after dark when she was hit by a cyclist who did not have his lights on.

She fell on her back and hit her head. She was bleeding. The cyclist didn’t bother to stop. A kind passer-by took my mother to hospital, where was told she was lucky to have escaped concussion or a broken back.

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Posted: 12th, September 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment

Cycling in London: only the very best survive

AFTER all the cycling success at London 2012, what is life like for London’s two-wheelers for a budding Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott or Chris Hoy? Lewisham Cyclists have produced a video of life on London’s Post-Olympic lanes. The junction at Greenwich High Road, Deptford Bridge, Deals Gateway and Blackheath Road is a great challenge that only the very best – and lucky – can survive.

You don’t need to be on drugs to be good on a bike, but – as Lance Armstrong’s case tells us – it helps:

Spotter: 853

Posted: 25th, August 2012 | In: Sports | Comment

The Huffy Radio Bike – With AM Radio!

CONTINUING Anorak’s look a bicycles and cycling, we bring you the 1955 Huffy Radio Bike. The bike contained an AM radio.

Boys Life: “Not a toy. Powerful radio has lock, sensitive tuner, volume control, clear-tone speaker. The bike’s a beauty; streamlined design, gearshift, new easy-pedal tires.”

The radio is in the body. It uses vacuum tubes. The batteries are on the back.


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Posted: 4th, August 2012 | In: Flashback, The Consumer | Comment

Elephant does not like being overtaken by cyclist (video)

MESSAGE to Brqdley Wiggins. When cycling in India take care when overtaking elephants…

Posted: 4th, August 2012 | In: TV & Radio | Comment

The cycling sewing machine of 1939

CYCLING. CYCLING! That’s good, Olympic champions Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton. But can you cycle and sew your own knees up..? In 1939, he could:


Spotter: PopSci’s Most Impractical Inventions

Posted: 3rd, August 2012 | In: Flashback | Comment

A history of British cycling in brilliant photos – 1895 to the present

ITS as easy as riding a bike. So they say. It turns out that the British are rather good at riding bicycles. We’ve trawled the archives and can bring you the history of British cycling in photos – 1895 to the present:


Picture 1 of 65

Bradley Wiggins, winner of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race rides up the Champs Elysees with his son during a parade after the last stage of the race in Paris, France, Sunday July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Posted: 3rd, August 2012 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Sports | Comment

A Ride of Death – The scary 1940s cycling safety pamphlet

SIR Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins have got us all on our bikes. But a word of warning. “A RIDE OF DEATH” is a brochure from the 1940s, produced by the police Safety Council. Children were taught that just looking at a bicycle would you killed. It’s not just the sharp bits of exploding metal that slice your skin. It’s the cars. The buses. The lights. The night. The transport plane. The pavements that “suddenly appear” and causes death…

Spotter: Gene Gable

Posted: 3rd, August 2012 | In: Flashback, Key Posts | Comment

Romford Road Rage Cyclist Captured On Camera (Video)

SOMEONE call the mayor of Vilnius – a cyclist needs you help.  The peddler, known only as kmcyc, has posted a video on  YouTube of an altercation at the Brewery shopping centre in Romford last Wednesday July 27.

The cyclist passes the roundabout on London Road, Romford. He is shouted at by the passenger in a silver Ford Fiesta. The passenger -flat cap, cartoon walk, clenched fists and low brows – gets out of the vehicle to share his wisdom with the cyclist, who is recording the matter on his helmet camera.

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Posted: 4th, August 2011 | In: Strange But True | Comments (4)

New York Police Stop Dutch Cyclist For Wearing ‘Disturbing’ Outfit

IN New York, Dutch tourist Jasmijn Rijcken, 31, is riding her bicycle. The police pull her over. Says she:
“He said it’s very disturbing, and it’s distracting the cars and it’s dangerous. I thought he was joking around but he got angry and asked me for ID. I didn’t even think for one second that my outfit could be harmful or disturbing.”

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Posted: 14th, June 2011 | In: Strange But True | Comment (1)

Cyclist Aziz Awang Wins With Huge Splinter Though His Leg: Photos

AZIZULHASNI Awang is the Malaysian cyclist who crashed at the Manchester Velodrome and got back on his bike with a large shard of wood sticking through his leg.

(And you thought cycling was just going round and round and round. This is pedal-powered Formula one, folks. Buy your Olympic tickets now!)

The yet more incredible thing is that Awang finished third – good enough to earn him the Track Cycling World Cup title.

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Posted: 21st, February 2011 | In: Sports | Comment

Cyclist Hit By Speeding Corpse

HEADLINE of the day comes from China: “Student hit by corpse thrown from speeding car.”

Or: “Cyclist hit by speeding corpse.”

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Posted: 10th, April 2009 | In: Strange But True | Comment

Lance Armstrong says no to drugs

DURING a stage in the Tour of California, which finished this weekend, Lance Armstrong was confronted by a non-fan wielding a giant syringe. Armstrong whupped cancer and he has never failed a drugs test, but he can’t escape the whispers that he achieved his trillion Tour wins by foul means. Still, he won this encounter:

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Posted: 23rd, February 2009 | In: Sports | Comment

Schumacher Tests Positive

GERMAN race ace Schumacher tests postive for banned substances:

German cyclist Stefan Schumacher, a double stage winner in the 2008 Tour de France, has tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO, says the L’Equipe website.

You didn’t think it was the other one, did you..?


Posted: 7th, October 2008 | In: Reviews | Comment