LONDON (Reuters) - The UK Anti-Doping agency (UKAD) has closed its Team Sky “mystery package” investigation and will not be making any charges, it said on Wednesday.
Team Sky have come under the microscope in recent months after an investigation was launched into a package ordered by former team doctor Richard Freeman and delivered to British rider Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine race.
Wiggins, a five-times Olympic champion and the 2012 Tour de France winner, retired from cycling last December.
UKAD said it had been unable to confirm or refute the account that the package delivered to Team Sky contained Fluimucil.
Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford had told British lawmakers that the package contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil.
“Put simply, due to the lack of contemporaneous evidence, UKAD has been unable to definitively confirm the contents of the package,” UKAD said in a statement.
“In light of the significant public interest in this particular investigation, which has previously been discussed by the Parliamentary Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, UKAD can confirm that this investigation has now been drawn to a close,” it added.
“It follows that UKAD does not intend to issue any anti-doping charges in relation to the package.”
UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said a lack of accurate records had caused problems.
“Our investigation was hampered by a lack of accurate medical records being available at British Cycling,” she said. “This is a serious concern.”
The 37-year-old Wiggins welcomed the UKAD statement but strongly criticised the way the case had been handled.
“This period of time has been a living hell for me and my family, full of innuendo and speculation. At times it has felt nothing less than a malicious witch hunt,” he said in a statement.
“To say I am disappointed by some of the comments made by UKAD this morning 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,” he added.
Wiggins demanded to know where the information came from to launch the investigation and said UKAD should make the source public.
Team Sky had denied any wrongdoing and they repeated their stance after the UKAD statement.
“We are pleased that UK Anti-Doping have concluded their investigation and that they will not be taking any further action,” the team said in a statement.
“We have always maintained that there was no wrongdoing and we have co-operated fully with UK Anti-Doping over the last year,” Team Sky added.
“Since our inception as a new pro cycling team in 2010 we have continually strengthened our systems and processes so they best support our strong commitment to anti-doping.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge