Sir Dave Brailsford has acknowledged mistakes in the handling of Team Sky’s anti-doping and medical practices.
He admitted some members of staff did not comply fully with policies and procedures, but pointed out the mistakes were process failures rather than wrongdoing.
Sir Dave, the cycling team’s principal, made his comments in a letter to Damian Collins, the chairman of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport select committee.
In the letter, he reiterated his belief that the team was not guilty of breaching anti-doping rules and said steps had been taken to strengthen its anti-doping and medical governance.
The team has been embroiled in controversy over a ‘mystery’ package hand-delivered in a jiffy bag to Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman for rider Sir Bradley Wiggins.
It came at the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine – a race he won.
There has also been controversy over three therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) granted to Sir Bradley in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) agency is investigating whether the team and British Cycling violated anti-doping rules over the package. The MPs’ committee is also looking into the delivery.
Sir Dave has said he was told it contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil, but as yet no documentary evidence has been produced.
It has been alleged the package instead contained the banned corticosteroid Triamcinolone, the drug for which Wiggins later received TUEs for but which he would not have been permitted to use at the time.
Team Sky have strenuously denied that was the case.
Last week, UKAD boss Nicole Sapstead said its investigation had found the absence of documentary evidence was because Dr Freeman had failed to follow the team’s record-keeping policy and had his laptop stolen in 2014.
She said there was no sign of any records to confirm if the package contained Fluimucil and because of this, UKAD was unsure if Dr Freeman, who is no longer with Team Sky but still works for British Cycling, and Sir Bradley broke anti-doping rules – an allegation both deny.
Sir Dave admitted in the letter: The events of recent months have highlighted areas where mistakes were made by Team Sky.
He added: We have not been able to provide the complete set of records that we should have around the specific race relevant to UKAD’s investigation. We accept full responsibility for this.
However, many of the subsequent assumptions and assertions about the way Team Sky operates have been inaccurate or extended to implications that are simply untrue.
There is a fundamental difference between process failures and wrongdoing.
Graham McWilliam, the chairman of the Team Sky board, said on Twitter that the board remained 100% behind team and Sir Dave Brailsford following suggestions that some riders might want the team principal to resign.
(c) Sky News 2017: Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford acknowledges ‘mistakes’