The pressure on Team Sky intensified last night when the most powerful man in cycling demanded an investigation into the doping allegations that have been levelled against them.
David Lappartient, the president of the UCI, gave an astonishing interview to the BBC yesterday, calling not just for the independent Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to pursue the claims made in that damning UK parliamentary report but also calling for answers about the Jiffy bag delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins.
"I don't think they want us know what was in that Jiffy bag," said the Frenchman, who took charge of the world governing body last autumn.
Lappartient said the DCMS report into doping in sport was hugely damaging for cycling, and suggested Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford needed to make a decision that was best for the sport in this country when it came to his own future. In essence he appeared to be suggesting Brailsford should resign.
He also said it would be "a disaster" for cycling if Chris Froome rode in this summer's Tour de France if the case concerning his failed drugs test at last year's Vuelta a Espana remains unresolved.
Lappartient told the BBC that the finding of the parliamentary report — which he said he trusted because it was written by British MPs — that stated Wiggins had used a controversial corticosteroid for performance enhancement rather than medical need was 'unacceptable'.
"A mistake is something you have done without intention to be wrong," said Lappartient.
"The report is a bit different. It seems it was a bit organised so maybe not a mistake but a fault which is different because that could affect the credibility globally of our sport. When Team Sky was launched, I remember ... they say, 'We will be clean, we will win races and be clean, more white than white'. We can see in this report that it seems to be a bit different.
"We have the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, they have the power of investigation. I would like them to do this, to see if there is some violation of the rules."
A UCI doctor approved the three applications Wiggins made to use triamcinolone before the 2012 Tour he won and two other major races. And while the British cyclist insists it was to treat his asthma and allergy symptoms his own coach Shane Sutton has admitted his use of the drug was 'unethical'.
It seems possible, therefore, that any UCI investigation would examine the process by which Wiggins was given those medical exemptions in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
"They had at the time the TUE agreement but now we have the evidence that it seems to be organised," said Lappartient, adding that at the time the system was 'a little bit simple'.
By that he probably means only one UCI doctor was required to approved the certificates, compared to today when a panel of doctors reviews each case.
Lappartient added: "So you have to put this in the context of the time — the grey zone was too big and it seemed that this grey zone has been used by Team Sky at the time. So, is it doping? Is it just using the rules? That is why the MPs' report just says they were not breaching the rules."
On Tuesday Sutton told Sky Sports that it was time for Wiggins and former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman to 'tell the truth'.
Lappartient responded to that by saying: "I think we need to know more about all these stories, there are still some grey zones, even in this report. I saw that Shane Sutton asked Wiggins to tell the truth. So what does that mean?"
Asked if he agreed with the MPs that Team Sky had "crossed the ethical line", Lappartient replied: "It's in the report. You can see that substances were used not for health problems or with strong pain but to increase your performances. That is unacceptable for me and the philosophy we have, even if it seems there is no breach, no violation of the rules."
But he added: "If you are using substances to increase your performances I think this is exactly what is cheating."
A UK Anti-Doping investigation into The Daily Mail's revelations about the Jiffy bag, delivered for Wiggins at the end of a race in the French Alps in 2011, was unsuccessful because of a lack of medical records.
Asked if he would like to know what was in the Jiffy bag, Lappartient smiled: "Of course, in the Dauphine in 2011. But you know, probably all of them, they lost their memory.
"Nobody seems to remember what it was in the Jiffy bag. They lost everything. It's probably because they don't want to know, or don't want to say, what's in the Jiffy bag."
On Froome he said: "It would be a disaster for the image of cycling, even if on a legal point of view he has a right to ride.
"For the image of our sport that could be a disaster. It would have been better for him not to ride."
And asked if Brailsford should resign, he replied: 'I think he has to take the best decision for cycling in Great Britain.
"I saw all the statements on this in Great Britain that damaged Team Sky, damaged cycling and we know how strong cycling is. I'm just thinking about the millions of fans riding their bikes, enjoying cycling, I don't want them to go away from our sport."
A Team Sky statement said: "Team Sky is happy to co-operate with any investigation by the UCI and we would welcome further scrutiny of the Select Committee's report. While we have acknowledged past failings, we strongly deny the very serious new allegations about the use of medication to enhance performance, as does Bradley Wiggins."
© Daily Mail