Damning WADA report confirms ‘potential wrongdoing’ from British Cycling after probe claims they BREACHED anti-doping rules by conducting their own private drug tests on riders ahead of London 2012 Olympic Games
- UK Anti-Doping employee allowed British Cycling to screen urine samples in lab
- It breached World Anti-Doping code and sparked a subsequent WADA probe
- WADA’s investigation criticised UKAD for failing to search properly for evidence
- WADA launched Operation Echo earlier this year after a Sportsmail investigation
British Cycling broke anti-doping rules by carrying out their own private drug testing of riders in the run-up to London 2012, a damning investigation has confirmed.
Sportsmail revealed in March that a UK Anti-Doping employee allowed British Cycling to screen urine samples of their athletes for the banned steroid nandrolone at a private laboratory in 2011, breaching World Anti-Doping code.
That sparked a probe by the World Anti-Doping Agency, who on Tuesday published their findings and confirmed ‘potential wrongdoing by individuals in both British Cycling and UKAD at that time’.
British Cycling broke anti-doping rules by carrying out their own private drug testing of riders
A damning investigation has confirmed this took place ahead of the London Olympics in 2012
Dave Brailsford (above) was the performance director of British Cycling from 1997 to 2014
WADA’s investigation also criticised UKAD for failing to search properly for evidence about the illicit testing — as well as allegations of a coach attempting to dope athletes — despite an anonymous tip-off in 2018.
However, despite the findings, UKAD have escaped further action by WADA as ‘those involved in the events of 2011 are no longer employed’ and the agency have ‘already put safeguards in place to avoid a repeat occurrence’.
WADA launched Operation Echo earlier this year after a Sportsmail investigation revealed how a urine sample of a British team member was found to contain traces of nandrolone following an out-of-competition test at the end of 2010.
We reported how UKAD alerted British Cycling to the abnormal test result and the national governing body responded by testing some riders’ urine privately at HFL Sport Science in Cambridgeshire – a non-WADA laboratory – which goes against rules.
WADA’s investigation also criticised UKAD for failing to search properly for evidence
In a statement on Tuesday, WADA said: ‘Operation Echo confirmed that in February 2011, as part of a study into potential contamination of supplements, British Cycling collected samples from elite riders and screened these samples for the androgen and anabolic steroid, nandrolone.
‘Contrary to the rules laid down by the World Anti-Doping Code and the relevant International Standard, the samples were collected by British Cycling staff rather than doping control officers, analysed by a non-WADA-accredited laboratory, and provided by the athletes on the basis that UKAD would never know the results.
‘Operation Echo also established that at least one UKAD employee was aware of the study and that the samples could be collected and analysed at a non-WADA-accredited laboratory. To this day, UKAD has no record of ever receiving the analysis results and emails that would have showed UKAD’s real-time knowledge of key events.’
WADA also criticised UKAD’s own investigation – Operation Blackout – which they started after receiving anonymous letters in 2018 alleging they and British Cycling had concealed doping.
The letters claimed that ‘a coach was attempting to dope’ athletes, that there was a ‘clear trail of emails’ about these events, and that laptops of a former British Cycling held material evidence. However, WADA found that UKAD did not search the British Cycling laptops.
WADA launched Operation Echo earlier this year after a Sportsmail investigation
In the report published on Tuesday, WADA noted: ‘Operation Echo is concerned by the failure of Operation Blackout to search the BC Laptops for relevant emails.
‘Had Operation Blackout conducted this search, it would have discovered the same emails found by Operation Echo in 2021, which indicate UKAD (or at least an employee of UKAD) was aware of the nandrolone study and that samples were to be collected and analysed for a prohibited substance by a non-accredited laboratory.’
In a statement on Tuesday night, UKAD said: ‘We welcome the findings. The report makes no recommendations for UKAD to follow and notes that all samples related to their investigation were negative. We acknowledge that these matters would not take place today.’
British Cycling said: ‘WADA’s finding that this was supported by UKAD is in line with our own understanding of events and attaches no fault to British Cycling or to the riders involved in the study.
‘British Cycling only conducted the testing having sought and received the express approval of UKAD’s director of legal.’