Chorley-based Bradley Wiggins has criticised UK Anti-Doping’s investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in cycling, saying it has provoked a “malicious witch hunt” that has been a “living hell” for his family.
In a statement posted on social media, Wiggins welcomed Wednesday’s announcement by UKAD that it was closing a 14-month investigation into a package delivered to his team doctor at the end of a race in France in 2011.
As UKAD has been unable to prove what was in that package – or Jiffy bag as it has more commonly been known – it said no anti-doping charges would be brought.
The first British rider to win the Tour de France in 2012, Wiggins wrote that being accused of doping: “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.”
He added: “This period of time has been a living hell for me and my family...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 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.”
Claiming that the time taken to reach this conclusion “has caused serious personal damage”, he then posed several questions for UKAD, including who was the source of the allegation and how much the investigation cost.
Wiggins, who retired from cycling after winning a fifth Olympic gold in Rio last summer, ended his statement by asking for privacy while he assesses his “legal options”.
Earlier on Wednesday, UKAD issued a statement to say it was closing its investigation into what was delivered to Dr Freeman, and administered to Wiggins, more than six years ago.
The investigation opened in September 2016 and it later became clear the main allegation was that the package contained a banned corticosteroid, triamcinolone, while Dr Freeman and Wiggins said it was a legal decongestant called Fluimucil.
The decision to investigate came soon after Russian hackers the Fancy Bears revealed that Wiggins had medical exemptions to use triamcinolone before the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Initially, Wiggins’ then boss, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford, claimed the package could not have been delivered to the race, but he later told a select committee that Dr Freeman said he had asked for Fluimucil to be hand-couriered to France to treat Wiggins’ allergies.
Unfortunately, there is no paperwork to confirm this and Dr Freeman lost his records when his laptop was stolen.