A leading  British Olympic cyclist rode away from a doping control officer days before the start of the London 2012 Olympics after being asked to give a random out-of-competition urine sample, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Sources with firsthand knowledge of the rural pre Games training camp where this took place claim that the rider of international fame was annoyed at being asked for his consent as they began a 20mph-long training ride through country lanes and adjacent pathways.

Instead of giving up and submitting to the test immediately, the rider agreed that they would stay in sight the UKAD doping control officers, who were travelling in a car. But within minutes they were gone, returning an hour later to collect a specimen. The doping officer booked a place to conduct the test.

An unnamed British Olympic cyclist rode away from a doping control officer

Unnamed British Olympic cyclist rode away after being stopped by a doping inspector

The incident happened before the start of the 2012 Olympics which were held in London

The incident occurred just before the 2012 Olympics were held in London. 

A former senior official inside British anti-doping circles has told this newspaper the incident was ‘truly troubling’ because protocols in place at the time should have logged the incident as suspicious, and been subject to follow-up scrutiny.

Instead, the UK Anti-Doping agency has told The Mail on Sunday: ‘UKAD is unable to comment on any specific activity in its testing programme, and as such would not confirm whether a particular test took place. Test paperwork from 2012 was subject to a retention period of 18 months.’

This latest incident is alarming, especially after British Cycling and UKAD were criticized for allowing British Cycling to effectively enforce their anti-doping policies before London 2012.

WADA’s report in effect concluded that the record-keeping of UKAD in particular made it impossible to verify whether British Cycling and UKAD had colluded in a potential doping cover-up in 2011.

Sunday’s Mail can reveal shocking new details from our investigation, which led WADA to launch their probe into British Cycling/UKAD. WADA’s ‘Operation Echo’ has ended with more questions than answers about British sporting integrity.

We reported in March that a trace of the banned drug nandrolone was found after a late 2010 out-of-competition drug testing. This was in preparation for British Cycling’s 2012 Olympics.

Rather than UKAD conducting an in-depth review, as was their responsibility, they tipped off British Cycling, who did their own private testing of several riders (prohibited under WADA rules), and of the riders’ dietary supplements, and ruled out any innocent explanation for the nandrolone.

These explanations could have included supplement contamination or abnormally high natural levels. British Cycling’s secret tests eliminated these, then British Cycling swept the affair under the carpet, while UKAD did nothing, and have no record of any of it.

WADA’s investigation vindicated our March exclusive, and concluded there was ‘potential wrongdoing by individuals in both British Cycling and UKAD at that time’.

A damning investigation by WADA recently confirmed British Cycling broke anti-doping rules by carrying out their private drug testing of riders

WADA has just revealed that British Cycling violated anti-doping rules when they conducted private drug testing on riders.

We can now also reveal that the anomalous nandrolone trace was found within a small group of world-class riders, which we will call the ‘trace training group’, ultimately controlled by British Cycling’s then head coach, Shane Sutton, who took a close interest in their development as Olympians.

Sutton told The MoS on Friday evening: ‘All I can tell you now, hand on heart, on the death of my daughter, is this [group of 2012 Olympians]Especially that [trace training]group, was the most pristine group of athletes you could meet. They wouldn’t even shake the hand of an ex-doper, and I’m not even going to name the person they wouldn’t associate with.’

Speaking about the individual who allegedly rode away from a drug tester in 2012, Sutton said: ‘This person was the cleanest athlete out there and it’s sad that they’re dragging stuff up about this particular group after what they achieved.’

According to emails seen by The MoS., just 10 British Cycling employees were copied into correspondence concerning the nandrolone case, from the trace discovery to the case disappearing. These included British Cycling’s then performance director Dave Brailsford, head of medicine Steve Peters, Sutton himself, team doctor Richard Freeman, plus two other British Cycling coaches, Jan van Eijden and Iain Dyer.

These two British Cycling employees are still employed. A British Cycling spokesperson stated that they have both been through multiple refresher courses in antidoping protocols. ‘All GB Cycling team staff receive regular anti-doping training,’ the spokesman told us.

We found emails that were traced and examined by WADA as part of their probe into British Cycling and UKAD. But he denies that he knew it was happening, and even being a party to it. ‘I wasn’t involved,’ he says. ‘No one ever interviewed me about it. I didn’t even know there was in-house testing going on, and I was the bloody head coach!’

According to WADA’s report last week, Operation Echo discovered that in December 2018, UKAD received two anonymous letters that revealed knowledge of the (subsequently proven) 2011 private illicit testing, and alleging that ‘a coach was attempting to dope [riders]’ at that time’.

It is now possible that the 2018 letters were written by a whistleblower within the small circle that was involved in the 2011 illegal testing. But WADA have found that UKAD, in effect, botched ‘Operation Blackout’ — UKAD’s codename for their investigation into the 2018 letters — and no action was taken.

Former British Cycling head coach Shane Sutton said the 2012 Olympians were the 'cleanest group of athletes' you could meet

Shane Sutton, former British Cycling head trainer, stated that the 2012 Olympians were the “cleanest group” of athletes you could meet.

Sutton says: ‘I don’t know, this whole whistleblower thing, where it’s coming from. I still believe we ran the cleanest programme in the world.’

Some of the riders in trace training have confirmed that we were part of the illicit testing through representatives or lawyers. However, they deny any wrongdoing. One has repeatedly refused to answer any questions regarding the matter.

These riders have won over 70 Olympic, World and European medals. The MoS has their identities, but withholds them because none of them have ever been found to have failed a drug screen or been charged with doping offenses.

The 2010-11 nandrolone controversy is among many involving British Cycling in recent years, and casts a pall of doubt over the increasingly dubious ‘glory’ of London 2012. Team GB won 65 medals and 29 gold. Cycling was the sport with the most GB-related medals (12).

‘UKAD should have documented and recorded [the nandrolone case] at the time,’ says WADA’s report. ‘The impact of this failure is magnified by the inability of those involved to now recall these events and materially contribute to this investigation.’

The report adds: ‘Allowing British Cycling to privately analyse samples of their most elite athletes for a prohibited substance, at a non-WADA accredited laboratory, would be inconsistent with UKAD’s obligation under the WADA Code to vigorously pursue all potential doping violations.’

A spokesman for British Cycling says: ‘The WADA review attaches no fault to British Cycling.’

The WADA review says: ‘The “nandrolone study” raises questions as to British Cycling’s compliance with the then applicable UK national anti-doping policy, and UKAD’s ability to administer that policy.’

The MoS has learned that when our story broke in March, senior officials within the current administrations at both British Cycling and UKAD — where the personnel in the top jobs have changed over the years, sometimes often — struggled to find the truth, even in their own records.

‘It might seem lame to say, “Most of the people involved aren’t here any more”. But that’s the reality. We’re not the same organisation today,’ claimed one British Cycling insider.

WADA launched Operation Echo earlier this year in the aftermath of a Sportsmail investigation

Operation Echo was launched earlier this year by WADA following a Sportsmail investigation

Another source with knowledge of the thinking inside UKAD’s hierarchy in 2011 said: ‘There was a feeling then that British Cycling was a “best in class” governing body. They were allowed to exercise their rights. They were trusted.’

The incident where a cyclist rode away from a drug tester just before London 2012 was ‘absolutely non-standard’, according to a former senior anti-doping official. They claim that it should have been flagged by the doping control officers who filed their report on this test.

In the same official’s opinion, one of two things probably transpired. One, the doping control official reported the strange circumstances. But, because the sample was negative and the rider was extremely respected, it was deemed a non event and not kept on file.

Alternatively, under pressure that admonishments were common for any procedural hiccups in collecting samples, the doping control officer simply didn’t report the odd events. Official claims that there was a culture in which doping control officers didn’t mention such irregularities to avoid getting into trouble.

UKAD’s relationship with British Cycling has been close over the past dozen years, and arguably too close, say some sources, citing the 2011 illicit testing as one example.

We can reveal that UKAD pro-actively started to collate intelligence on whether British Cycling (the governing body) and British cycling more widely, especially Team Sky, were implicated in doping in late 2012, after Lance Armstrong’s downfall.

UKAD intelligence officers began to gather testimony in late 2012 about Shane Sutton’s alleged doping past, something he has always denied. He told a Parliamentary inquiry in 2016 he’d never seen any evidence of doping in cycling, ever, as a rider or coach.

UKAD had at most two extensive external dossiers on Sutton by mid-2013. These dossiers cited multiple people from different areas of his career, alleging that he had used or knew of drugs as a coach. UKAD did not contact any of them.

Sutton was not only British Cycling’s head coach and the architect of British Cycling’s Olympic successes from 2008 to 2016, but also a central figure at Team Sky until the end of 2012, and on their payroll as a consultant until 2017.

Mail on Sunday is the first to go, the rest will follow seven months later!

When UKAD launched a 13-month investigation in 2016 that ultimately failed to find any evidence that a Jiffy bag sent for Bradley Wiggins contained a powerful drug, triamcinolone, rumours were rife that Sutton had started UKAD’s probe.

UKAD won’t confirm or deny this, saying: ‘UKAD is unable to comment on the specific details of investigations.’ They added that information gleaned during ‘Jiffy-Gate’ is being used during ‘ongoing legal proceedings’ and therefore they can’t comment.

Wiggins has always maintained innocence to any doping offense.

Sutton denied that he was the source who informed UKAD that the Jiffy bag contained triamcinolone on Friday. ‘A lot of people thought it was me,’ he said. ‘Parliament asked me what was in it and I said I didn’t know because I wasn’t there when it was taped up, [or]When it was untaped. If I said anything else, I’d be lying.’

British cycling has been plagued by accusations of lying for the past decade. Dr. Freeman, a team doctor for British Cycling and Team Sky from years past until 2017, was convicted of ordering banned testosterone in 2011, believing it was to dope a rider.

He denied all charges and said that the testosterone was for Sutton. His appeal is due to be heard in the High Court in Manchester in November. The most dramatic moment in his tribunal was when his former friend and bitter adversary, Sutton, took the stand to deny that he was a doper.

WADA’s conclusion last week that something was amiss with British Cycling and UKAD in 2011 will not draw a line under these matters. The truth is yet to be revealed.