British Cycling carried out its drug-testing of riders using a private laboratory in violation of international rules, an investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has confirmed.
In a statement on Tuesday, WADA said that investigators found that United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) had allowed British Cycling to screen athlete samples for banned substances at a private facility.
The WADA investigation — named “Operation Echo” — found that the illicit testing took place in 2011 as part of a study into potential contamination of supplements, a statement said. “British Cycling collected samples from elite riders and screened these samples for the androgen and anabolic steroid, nandrolone,” WADA said.
“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, analyzed by a non-WADA-accredited laboratory, and provided by the athletes on the basis that UKAD would never know the results.”
WADA said “at least one UKAD employee” was aware of the British Cycling study and that samples could be collected and analyzed at a non-WADA-accredited laboratory.
The agency said UKAD had “no record of ever receiving the analysis results and emails that would have showed UKAD’s real-time knowledge of key events.”
“‘Operation Echo’ confirmed potential wrongdoing by individuals in both British Cycling and UKAD at that time,” WADA’s independent Intelligence & Investigation (I&I) director Gunter Younger said.