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Wiggins saga damaging our success: chief

By Ian Herbert

The head of UK Sport - which provided the discredited British Cycling organisation with £30m in the last Olympic cycle - admitted yesterday that the public's perception of the Rio de Janeiro gold medal success may have been damaged and warned that funding for the Tokyo Games would be withdrawn unless revelations made at a select committee hearing prompted decisive action.

Liz Nicholls admitted she was "shocked" to discover the governing body had liberally dispensed powerful triamcinolone, a controlled substance, without any audit control, in flagrant contravention of GMC guidelines, though she claimed that any suspicions voiced by other countries at the Tokyo Games would be a result of their competitive jealousy.

"Comments from other countries are inevitable in a very competitive environment when others might want to undermine success," Nicholls said.

"My concern is more about (how) the credibility of one's sport affects the public perception of the credibility of the system."

Asked if she was ready to reign back on cycling's funding for Tokyo, which begins to flow on April 1, she said that certain "conditions" must be complied with.

Nicholls' comments came as Sir Bradley Wiggins reacted angrily to the appearance of BBC journalists at the front door of his home in Chorley, Lancashire, to ask about a mystery package which prompted the investigation.

The sport's governing body was in retreat yesterday, when the launch of an incomplete independent review of allegations of bullying within British Cycling was overwhelmed by questions about the Jiffy Bag package and the revelation about the uncontrolled flow of drugs from a medical room the organisation and Team Sky shared.

British Cycling chairman Jonathan Browning admitted he did not know if the room was still shared - a situation which left no audit of the drugs Sky was procuring, according to the testimony of UK anti-doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead.

British Cycling sources later claimed that there was still one room but Team Sky had not used it since 2014, as they maintained their medical supplies at a store in Belgium.

Browning refused to comment on the future of British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman, who dispensed triamcinolone, which allows weight loss, to Wiggins, requisitioned the mystery package but evaded select committee scrutiny through ill health.

The draft of the independent review into bullying provided no sense of the level of bullying and sexism which prompted it. The full report is expected to heap more embarrassment on the governing body and may be published within two months.

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