Wiggins blasts 'witch hunt' after doping investigation ends

Sir Bradley Wiggins
Sir Bradley Wiggins
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Sir Bradley Wiggins has said attention given to allegations surrounding a package containing medication felt like "a malicious witch hunt" after a doping investigation was closed with no charges brought.

The cycling legend released a statement on Twitter speaking of the toll the lengthy probe by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) had taken on himself and his family.

He said: "It is only now that I have the opportunity to break my silence, give my reaction to the events of the past 14 months and to ask a few questions of my own.

"I welcome UKAD's confirmation that no anti-doping charges are to be brought regarding the so-called "jiffy bag" allegations. It has always been the case that no such charges could be brought against me as no anti-doping violations took place.

"I am pleased that this has finally been confirmed publicly but there are a large number of questions regarding the investigation which I feel remain unanswered.

"Being accused of any doping indiscretion is the worst possible thing for any professional sportsperson, especially when it is without any solid factual basis and you know the allegation to be categorically untrue.

"I have kept my silence throughout this period to allow UKAD to conduct their investigation in the most professional way possible and so as not to undermine it.

"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.

"No evidence exists to prove a case against me and in all other circumstances this would be an unqualified finding of innocence.

"The amount of time it has taken to come to today's conclusion has caused serious personal damage, especially as the investigation seems to be predicated on a news headline rather than real solid information.

"UKAD's findings have left me with a series of my own questions."

Sir Bradley went on to say he wanted to know where the information to launch the investigation came from, who the source was and who they spoke to about the allegations, why UKAD treated it as credible and why it took so long for conclusions to be drawn.

He also asked how much taxpayers'; money had been spent on the investigation.

In the statement Sir Bradley also spoke of how sportspeople put their trust in the professional teams around them and said he would be making no further public statement, requesting the media to allow him and his family time and space.

He spoke of his own co-operation with the probe, saying he was interviewed for more than 90 minutes in November 2016 and handed over to UKAD's investigators all the relevant medical records available to him.

He also said "unfounded speculation" had been published and also criticised fellow riders and commentators who he said had been "wading in without knowing all the facts". He also said he had been "hounded on my door step".

He concluded: "I would also like to take the opportunity to thank those who have stood by me and my family while this dark cloud has been over us."