Sir Dave Brailsford and other insiders tell the story of the extraordinary triumphs and recent controversies that have rocked Britain's cycling medal factory.
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-World champion Chris Hoy of Great Britain takes gold.
What a fantastic performance!
And Wiggins is going to be the next leader of the tour.
They are among Britain's greatest sporting heroes...
The gold medal is Great Britain's.
Here they come up to the line!
..whose success was built
thanks to a ruthless new vision of how to win.
We wanted to be the SAS of the Olympic world.
You're in the business of pain.
It's not going to be easy.
But winning had a dark side.
Sir Bradley, could you tell us about the mystery package?
It's just hugely disappointing.
Could you just give us some light on that, please?
I was like... "I thought you guys were different."
They are all in the pain barrier.
They are really suffering now.
It made people wonder,
is this how you deal with someone that you've been treating
as a serious Olympian?
Now the men at the centre of the storm...
I'm upset that you've questioned the integrity of our team.
..give their side of the story.
We're not really interested in fourth to eighth,
that's the harsh reality of it.
We're not there to try and be, you know, a happy family.
It's not The Waltons.
They built the greatest medal factory in British history.
Do we want an era where we win everything,
but there is a human cost to pay?
But in their pursuit of glory, did they cross a line?
And the gold medal goes to Great Britain!
-The countdown is on for what could be
the greatest day in British sport
at the Olympics for over 100 years.
The first event in Beijing was the team sprint.
Well, the opponents, the team from France,
that they've raced against many times over the years...
We'd had the World Championships a few months before,
and we'd lost by half a second to the French.
And the French were the favourites, the hot favourites for a gold medal.
Let me just tell you the line-up for Great Britain is Jamie Staff...
In training, everybody was flying.
But you're never quite sure whether you've calibrated what you're seeing
in training into racing.
Get ready for this. There's going to be some fireworks, I can tell you.
And we're away. Jamie Staff comes out of that gate,
and launches himself into the opening lap now.
Staff leading off, Kenny, then Hoy sitting back there...
Our guys got up, and they did this phenomenal ride.
Here they come to complete that opening lap now.
17.136 for Great Britain.
The fastest opening lap of the competition.
And Kenny is riding...
And what we knew straight away was our calibration was right.
That inside world record pace, and Kenny has released Hoy
for the final 250.
Tournant's working hard,
but nobody's going to stop the flying Scot.
Chris Hoy brings the team home.
43.128 to take that gold medal.
I can remember Shane was the other side of the velodrome,
I was this side, and we just looked at each other.
I looked at him, we crossed the line, and I said,
-"We're going to win a
They were my exact words. Sorry for swearing, but...
Yeah, we were going to win loads of medals.
And the business-like style by Great Britain's quartet is very,
very impressive indeed.
We were flying under the radar, nobody had really noticed,
and we went in there and smashed it, basically.
And Shane Sutton urges them on.
And the crowd are loving it.
It's another world record.
Eight gold medals.
One on the road...
Victoria Pendleton is the Olympic champion.
..seven on the track.
And this may well be gold medal number two for Darren Kenny.
And Paralympians follow up with a further 17 gold medals.
It is Britain's greatest ever Olympic achievement.
And we would go home every night, and Dave would say,
"Oh, if we could just win another one tomorrow."
By this time, you know, the count is up to four, or whatever,
and I'm saying,
"Well, we don't want to put the bar too high, Dave, you know?"
"I think we've done fantastic," and everything else.
And we'd win another one.
That night, "Oh, just imagine if we could just win another one.
"If we could just top, you know...
"If we could just top all the other sports."
That was Dave all over, you know? He just...
Winning wasn't good enough - he wanted to win everything.
And that's what defined him from the rest.
Britain's triumph at Beijing took the world by storm.
But it had been years in the planning.
Brailsford had been appointed
British Cycling performance director in 2004.
From his base at the Manchester Velodrome,
he had recruited a brains trust
of the best and brightest from the world of cycling and beyond.
From the outset, his right-hand man
was former professional rider turned coach, Australian Shane Sutton.
The Sutton-Brailsford partnership is very, very important.
They're kind of like man and wife.
You know? I mean, they need each other.
Dave is slightly more Olympian and distant,
Shane is the guy who's, you know, down there with the athletes,
kicking their arses and giving them big hugs when they perform.
He knew cycling inside out.
He was watching the cyclist, he was watching people compete,
he was seeing things that other people weren't seeing.
And he could really make somebody feel like a million dollars.
And I think in terms of going into battle, when people get nervous,
you've got to really go into the trenches, as it were,
you would really want Shane Sutton next to you.
I think Dave was a wild Welshman, and, yeah, I was a wild Aussie.
And, you know, he was meticulous in the details of how we operated.
He was a disciplinarian, which really suited me, because I...
I like to be very structured, very disciplined, you know?
What unites them is this obsession with being the best.
They are just incredibly intense competitors.
And in the drive to win,
Brailsford had another maverick plan up his sleeve.
Kaizen. Information on continued improvement.
Kaizen was a performance philosophy from the car industry in Japan.
Quality circles, automation, just-in-time delivery...
Its simple message -
attention to the tiniest details
can give you the crucial edge over competitors.
Kaizen is just the beginning of a long journey
of continual improvement.
Brailsford had his own name for it...
..the aggregation of marginal gains.
You start with, OK, let's have a look at the turbulence
around a tyre, the turbulence around the frame,
the front cross-sectional area, the drag coefficient.
You look at the helmet, you look at the glasses, you look at the visor.
You look at everything - the shoe coverings...
Sportsmen have always looked for gains in as many different areas
as they can, but breaking it down into its constituent parts
and refining a system where you could look at individual areas
of an athlete's sporting life - that was very new.
So give us an example of a marginal gain.
I mean, for example, we're encouraged to, you know,
rest our legs, not spend too much time walking around.
All those, sort of, simple things that...
It means you have to sacrifice a bit, but in the long term,
it's definitely worth it.
Above all, that obsession with performance
applied to the riders themselves.
We were interested in Olympic medals,
and in particular gold medals.
You know, not everybody was going to make it. It's elite.
If you can get in there, you're going to have to hang onto your hat
and really perform if you're there, or you move out.
But we're going to push, and we're going to push to the very edge.
And if everybody's not feeling a bit uncomfortable,
we're not pushing hard enough.
It was an uncompromising regime.
Riders who didn't meet the standard would be dropped.
To ensure the athletes could handle the pressure,
Brailsford made an unusual appointment.
Steve Peters was a psychiatrist
who had worked at Rampton Secure Hospital,
and had a background in dealing with the criminally insane.
My job was the people side of it.
Get people in the best place possible,
get the team in the best place possible...
sort out any problems.
You're only as good as your last performance.
You're competing for positions on the team,
your funding relies on how well you do, and there's no, sort of,
compensation if you are injured, for example.
You have to produce on the day, so there are all these pressures.
When you look at, you know, the likes of Steve Peters and that,
that we had on board at the time,
these just aren't normal people.
These are very special people that are born with a gift.
And they could find things that other people couldn't find.
You know, they could find what's...through the mind.
2008 Sports Personality Coach of the Year is David Brailsford.
Dave and Shane were at the peak of their powers.
They become unassailable because their track record is so fantastic.
They've achieved so much.
So, ladies and gentlemen, David Brailsford.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
I've always loved riding my bike,
and then I left home when I was about 19, left Wales.
I put my bike in a cardboard box, rucksack,
left my job, and headed off to France.
And...I wanted to be a pro cyclist, basically.
I wanted to win the Tour de France.
I love this stuff, I just love it.
And I love the sport. I found... I thought I found...
I wasn't going to make it as a pro cyclist myself,
but I thought maybe I'd found something that I could do well,
and that I could still be involved in the sport with,
but actually come at it from a different angle.
..is, I guess, what I do, basically.
But Olympic triumph wasn't enough for Dave Brailsford.
He now set his sights on another seemingly impossible goal.
Within professional cycling, there is one race
that counts above all others.
The Tour de France is perhaps the greatest endurance competition
on the planet.
Across 21 relentless days,
3,500 kilometres, racing up steep mountain passes...
-They are all in the pain barrier.
They are really suffering now.
..and through deep valleys.
Incredible descent. These boys have got to be extremely careful.
These are professional bike riders on their absolute limit.
But they're professional bike riders,
and pain is part of the game.
One British rider had even died in his attempt to win the tour.
Bike racing is very much sadomasochism.
You know, you're hurting yourself, but normally that's in order
to hurt other people, to weaken them, to beat them.
The best professional cyclists are the ones who can suffer more,
who can go deeper.
You're always doing all these calculations,
all the time, constantly.
Can you stay strong enough to know it's not going to last?
If I'm hurting, I'm hurting, and I'm making other people suffer.
They can only do this for two minutes, three minutes,
they can do it for 15 minutes, I can do that.
I'm just going to get over this hard section, I can race the rest.
And there's the guys who can do those calculations
kind of just like that...
..and can manage that suffering, that hurting,
and kind of get it all balanced - they're the best guys.
The pain and impossible demands placed on riders
has also turned it into one of the most tainted sports.
When I turned pro in 1997 as a 19-year-old,
it was impossible to win the biggest races without doping.
We had flasks, the team buses had pharmaceutical sections,
team trucks, we had two or three or four team doctors per team.
We doping training camps, we had fixers in teams.
How many times do I have to say it...
..that I've never taken drugs?
It was so dark, the sport was in a terrible place.
In 2006, you've got Operation Puerto,
where the bulk of the top tour riders are revealed
as belonging to this blood doping ring.
You've got Floyd Landis, you know,
the first tour winner to be disqualified for doping.
You've got 2007, the nightmare tour...
I confirm that I have no positive doping tests.
..when Michael Rasmussen and Alexander Vinokourov
were thrown off... I mean, these are incredibly dark years.
Even David Brailsford had had an encounter
with the sport's dirty secret.
In the run-up to the Athens games,
I was thinking about which of the professional road riders
should ride for Britain, and who was going to do what events,
and David Millar was one of the, you know,
the best riders that we had.
I thought, actually, you know, I'll go down and see how he's getting on
and watch him race.
So, yeah, we went to a restaurant called Blue Cargo,
and it was a beautiful evening,
sat there, admiring the view,
looked at the menu, ordered some food and had a glass of wine.
And these two guys strolled up,
didn't really bat an eyelid, really, but they came to our table.
I thought, "OK, this looks like this is now going to happen."
It's go time.
They then said that they were the drugs squad,
and then they said, "OK, you come with us."
And they were pretty aggressive about it.
And off we went.
It was pretty scary stuff, and...very intimidating.
The two were arrested and taken back for a search of Millar's flat.
It's the culmination of a French police investigation into doping
and the use of the performance-enhancing drug EPO
in Millar's Cofidis team.
About the third hour, one of them kind of, shouts.
I think, "OK, here it is."
And he comes out, and he's like, "What are these?"
He'd found to empty EPO syringes
that I'd had in my book shelves in my bedroom.
There was one guy, very aggressive,
and he came and he put his hand right in front of my face,
and he opened his hand,
and he said, "Right, what's that?" And he had a syringe.
And he said, "What does that say?"
And I said, "Well, it says Eprex." And he said, "Well, what's Eprex?"
And I didn't know. And I said, "I'm sorry, I don't know."
-And they... They started to really lose their
Once the police were satisfied Brailsford was not involved
with Millar's drug-taking, he was released.
But Millar is charged after admitting to doping.
He is fired by his team, and given a two-year ban.
It had a big influence, that experience.
Professional cycling had been, if you like,
a medical model where the doctors were running
the training programmes, the doctors were the ones
who were getting the performance, and none of them had coaches.
But the sport was definitely cleaning itself up.
You know, the systematic, kind of,
team-organised doping programmes were disappearing.
And it seemed to us that here's the opportunity
to do something and win clean.
Racing clean was a defining principle for Team Sky.
It was something which Dave Brailsford
made much of in the years when the team was being put together.
Here's Bradley Wiggins!
In 2010, Brailsford took his first step
towards making his dream come true.
Team Sky, ladies and gentlemen.
One of his very first presentations he gave, he said,
"We want to win the Tour de France in five years with a British rider."
And I was sitting there thinking,
"Well, that's not going to happen!"
It was the first British pro team in 23 years,
formed on the back of a huge sponsorship deal.
Sky came in and very visibly displayed their wealth.
There was always a sense that Sky's budget was bigger
than everybody else's,
simply because of the people that they could hire,
the riders that they could hire.
He was massively ambitious.
Within just six months, Brailsford was rolling out
his brand-new team at that year's Tour de France prologue
From the slick black kit to the team bus,
to the Jaguar cars,
the world of pro cycling had never seen anything quite like it.
I think people looked at us, and they probably laughed, you know?
"What do these blokes know?"
A lot of the traditional, old school kind of guys didn't like our team,
and certainly didn't like me.
They weren't shy or backwards in coming forward with that one!
But I didn't care, I didn't care about them.
And I quite liked it they didn't like me.
I thought, "Oh, well, I'm not here for you."
Crucially, a British team needed a British star rider,
and when Bradley Wiggins had finished fourth
in the previous year's tour,
Brailsford thought he had found his man.
There was definitely a moment there where you thought,
"OK, if he can run fourth, he can win the race, basically."
-This is a big moment now for not just Team Sky,
but for Bradley Wiggins.
He's chosen an early start, because he hoped he would avoid the rain,
and that hasn't worked.
So Wiggins now goes down the start ramp,
and off into the wet roads of Rotterdam. Time will tell.
As the tour opened with a time trial,
it wasn't the most auspicious start for Team Sky.
Wiggins now hits the line, and Bradley Wiggins' time
will drop him in to only 14th place at the moment,
and there are an awful lot of riders to come.
But the Tour de France is won or lost in the mountains.
Hours of gruelling climbs can break the hopes
of even the most talented cyclists.
-The pace has suddenly got violent on the climb here.
But all of the work in the chase is being done by Team Sky.
Well, Fletcher really is turning on the gas there,
followed by Geraint Thomas, followed by Bradley Wiggins there
in fourth position.
For Team Sky and for Wiggins, in their first tour,
it was a very, very important moment,
because what happens on the first mountain stage
is a crucial pointer to how the rest of the race is going to develop.
There's Brad Wiggins in the black jersey,
just peeping into our picture...
I went ahead up to Avoriaz.
I checked into one of those, sort of, industrial ski hotels.
I was there with Shane, I turned on the little telly,
sat there watching it intensely.
Well, it's a great climb if you're watching in front of the television.
It's not such a great climb for the guys in that group there,
because they are going to have to do some serious battle
on the slopes of Avoriaz.
We're heading into Avoriaz, and Bradley Wiggins
has got the weight of Britain on his shoulders, basically.
And Dave and I were getting nervous, you know,
we're halfway up the climb.
Look at the speed that they are climbing.
It is absolutely incredible.
There's another one just gone off the back.
He's done, he's cooked, he's fried...
Then all of a sudden, you know, there's maybe 15 left.
We can see the damage that's being done now.
This is a phenomenal race we're seeing here,
and a lot of power is being put into this race and the chase...
We're probably 5K from the top of Avoriaz at this point.
Brad's, like, 15th...
This is Bradley Wiggins.
He's looking as though it's beginning to hurt.
And Brad's swinging like a dunny door in a hurricane.
You know he's about to pop.
Don't unhitch now, Bradley,
because you must not let go of that group in front of you.
And I'm just sitting there thinking,
"He's going to go, he's going to go."
And sure enough...
Boom, you know? He blows.
But he's biding his time. Wiggins is unhitched.
He's been slipped off the back of this group.
Ah, it was like Dave's world had just caved in.
And that was pretty much, you know,
where our tour and everything fell apart.
Look at the gap as Wiggins hits the line,
a minute and three quarters lost to the men he's trying to beat here.
That's a serious loss when the day seemed to be going so well.
Bradley, you seem to be setting your own pace riding,
keeping it steady.
Do you want me to be honest with you?
-mate. I've got nothing.
I'm... I just don't have the form. It's as simple as that.
It was tough.
We'd had a lot of success, we'd been through all the Olympics,
we'd achieved a lot, and then all of a sudden,
this was like a bump back down to earth, and it felt...
You felt like you'd let people down.
You felt, it was a bit...
Kind of, like, nearly a bit of, you know...
Really, sort of, embarrassment, really.
And, like, you know, you weren't good enough.
Wiggins finished the tour in 23rd place.
At Team Sky, a period of brutal reckoning now began.
With characteristic ruthlessness,
everything and anyone was open to question.
I felt with Bradley, at the end of the first season, he had...
He is a fantastic... He's proven it, he's an unbelievable talent.
But he seemed to be a bit lost.
At that time, you know, Dave was pretty much,
"Well, I'm just going to get rid of Brad."
"If he's not going to pull his socks up, we'll get rid of him."
But Team Sky didn't sack Bradley Wiggins.
Instead, they decided to start again from scratch.
Once more, the focus was on the details.
Here are some basics that we're going to really have to improve on.
Performance in the heat, performance in the cold,
performance at altitude, body composition.
And we just narrowed it down to some very, very key areas, and said,
"Well, actually, without doing these brilliantly,
"you're not going to perform.
"We're not going to perform at the level required."
But if Brailsford was worried about the performance of Team Sky,
an even bigger challenge was looming.
As London prepared for the 2012 Olympics,
British Cycling's track squad were facing the reality
of delivering gold for the home crowd.
Sutton and Brailsford now had to turn their attention
away from the tour to get the team prepared.
They would only ever get the chance of that home Olympics once, so...
the pressure was immense.
And you have your medal target, and you have a home games.
You have to get the medals, that is what you're there for.
And you're in a situation where, if you fall short of Beijing,
you are going to face massive criticism.
Now, just 18 months away from the Olympics,
the British track cyclists faced a crucial test
at the World Championships in the Netherlands.
-Just under two laps to go in race two here
in the men's sprint final.
Kenny at the front.
One down to the French world champion who's looking...
Apeldoorn was the last major staging post on the road to London.
It was the moment in the Olympic cycle when, basically,
you have to get real.
Here comes the reaction from Kenny.
Kenny now trying to close down on Bauge.
Into the back straight...
So it was the last opportunity for reappraisal, for reassessment,
He's tried, and he can't do it. It's all over.
Jason Kenny tried his best, but Bauge just too strong.
We turned up into Apeldoorn, and we were staying
in a little hotel there.
And we went down and we started watching the racing, and, you know,
the performances weren't, you know, at Dave's level.
Both riders fully committed now.
Is it going to be the world champions?
Is it going to be Great Britain? Australia take it.
Australia gold medal winners...
It was disappointment...
Anna Meares of Australia.
Perkins of Australia takes the gold medal.
And second, it looks like Sir Chris Hoy.
-Great Britain down there in fourth.
Let's hear what the British team director has to say.
We came here to compete in the Olympic events only,
so getting on a podium seven times,
from our point of view, is satisfactory.
I think we've raised the bar so high...
But behind the scenes, Brailsford was anything but satisfied.
Dave called a meeting of all the staff and riders,
and the air turned pretty blue.
And things needed to change.
And...Shane's going to be taking over.
And so whatever he says, goes, from now on.
Shane has always been the go to guy.
He's always... You know, he's been the guy who historically
has made it happen.
So, to that extent, it's an obvious decision.
Shane Sutton now took complete charge of the Olympic squad.
He set about training with characteristic rigour.
His coaching ability is off the grid.
I've never encountered anybody like it.
But it's going to be a ride.
You're in the business of pain.
You know, it's not going to be easy.
And I think, you know, you look at a bike rider,
and you want to take them somewhere that nobody else normally could go.
It is one of the toughest sports in the world,
there's no two ways about that.
It's his ability to tap into your emotions,
and fire you up, and, kind of,
just turn your flame up that little bit brighter, you know?
He was like no other coach in the world.
But from the start, some team insiders had concerns
about Shane's style.
The individual coaches and physios, and sports scientists and engineers
and mechanics were...
They were always just brilliant and very supportive.
But if Shane decided that he didn't like you that day,
then you were in trouble.
And if Shane said "Nah," then that was that,
it wasn't going to happen.
I think Shane is very passionate, and I think he contributed,
obviously, significantly, to the success of the team.
But if something wasn't going right, Shane took it on his shoulders -
that if this team didn't succeed in London, for example,
then it was his fault.
And that made a terrible pressure on him.
And Shane himself would admit that sometimes his passion overran,
and then it might turn into what most people would see
as hostility or aggression.
Yeah, would I think it's fair to say he's a big character, Shane.
And I would never, ever deny that I wasn't aware
of the character that he was.
But I worked with him. I was there to support him and help him.
Every now and again it was like, "Shane, come on, step back."
With Shane Sutton driving the British team
towards the London Olympics,
Dave Brailsford and Bradley Wiggins were launching their third crack
at winning the Tour de France.
The man in black.
He said, "Bring it on.
"I want to start this Tour de France."
Well, now he's about to do just that.
There's so many things that can happen,
so many things that can go wrong,
you know, the weather, the road, the crowds.
And you're wincing every time, you know,
and it's difficult to watch.
Team Sky is annihilating the field, and they are piling the pressure on.
Look how they've destroyed the peloton...
This time the ambition to win with a British rider,
and win clean, seemed to be working.
Bradley Wiggins is going to be the next leader of the tour.
For reformed drug cheats like David Millar,
it felt like a watershed moment.
We mustn't forget what this sport's been through,
and where we are now.
I think we're the cleanest we've ever been,
and with Brad leading the tour and Chris in second,
and now four British stage wins...
I mean, we're clean riders,
and we're dominating the Tour de France.
Bradley Wiggins punching the sky.
We have just seen the winner of the Tour de France cross the line.
Team Sky are bringing a British rider
onto the Champs-Elysees as the first ever winner
of the Tour de France.
You can imagine what it's done for the sport of cycling in Britain...
With the race already won,
Wiggins could look forward to the final stage in Paris
as a celebration.
I really remember the whole of the Champs-Elysees,
up Place de la Concorde, all round the back past the Louvre.
Absolutely just covered in blanket... Draped in Union Jacks.
-Look at the flags of the United Kingdom.
Everybody had sideburns stuck on, and I remember that, thinking,
"What's going on?!" You know?
And it was... It was a bit mad, really, it was a bit mad.
And it was very, very...
It was just...brilliant.
I'm just trying to soak every minute of today in, you know,
as it goes along.
It's very surreal at the moment, you know? It's incredible, yeah.
It was a massive, massive thing.
It's very hard to put it into any perspective, really.
It was one of the great British sporting achievements.
I just want to be remembered as someone who won the Tour de France,
and was good at what he did, and... I'm a pretty honest person.
I'm pretty open, and I like to think that what I've achieved here...
I've been as honest as I can be, and as frank as I can be.
Maybe not in the most articulate sense at times, but I...
I really want this to go down in history for the right reasons.
But as the crowd celebrated,
there was something about Wiggins' tour
that remained a closely-guarded secret.
Team Sky had always boasted that they would win clean,
without the performance-enhancing drugs that blighted previous tours.
But Wiggins had complained of a pollen allergy,
and had been given special permission
to inject a banned corticosteroid before the race.
It's what's known as a Therapeutic Use Exemption, or TUE.
It's when there is a perceived medical need
for a condition to be treated using a drug
which may be performance-enhancing, but is certainly on the banned list.
And a medical certificate has to be obtained from the doctors,
and then it has to be passed through the medical channels at the UCI.
The controversy is very simple -
it's attached to the fact that these CAN be performance-enhancing drugs,
and there's obviously a system that could be open to abuse.
I used it in the third week of the Vuelta a Espana in 2001,
and I'd noticed immediately that this was, kind of like, whoa!
I'd lost a kilo immediately, and became stronger,
and was just like, "Wow, this is..." It made EPO feel weak.
I could see the veins all suddenly popped out.
I felt stronger. I was like, "This is pretty crazy."
Kind of scary.
If you've got an athlete that's 95% ready,
and that little 5% niggle or injury that's troubling them,
if you can get that TUE to get him to 100%,
yeah, of course you would in them days.
The business you're in is to give you the edge on your opponent.
And ultimately, at the end of the day, it's about killing them off.
But definitely no crossing the line,
and that's something we've never done.
-So finding the gains might mean getting a TUE?
Finding the gains might be getting a TUE? Erm...
Yes, because the rules allow you to do that.
Do you think they were gaming the system?
I think they were gaming the system, yeah.
I think that's quite obvious. I think we all know that, yeah.
It's just hugely disappointing.
Team Sky were zero tolerance, you know?
So you'd think a zero tolerance would mean you're not going to
tread into that very grey area, which is cortisone use,
because it IS performance-enhancing.
And so when I heard that I was just, like, "Seriously?"
It was just, kind of, a little bit of me died, to be honest with you.
I was like, "I thought you guys were different."
I think if an athlete is hampered, if you like, by an illness,
and there's a medication that they can have,
and the TUE criteria are met, then, yes, they should.
The doctor came forward and said,
"Look, I think we've got an issue here."
I said, "OK, well, you know, you've got Bradley the individual,
"you've got a doctor, you've got the consultant,
"and if that's what we think we should do,
"then that's what we should do."
You know, I felt if the UCI signed this off,
and it was all absolutely clear and above board and signed off,
then I was comfortable with that.
But Bradley Wiggins' use of a TUE
would come back to haunt Brailsford and British Cycling.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to London,
and to the games of the 30th Olympiad.
And Great Britain have got Australia in their sights.
What a ride this is!
The crowd are going absolutely ballistic.
Here they come up to the line.
Oh, look at the time!
It's a new world record, and Great Britain have won the gold medal.
At the London Olympics, the British team seemed unstoppable...
-Who's going to get it?
Chris Hoy gets the gold medal!
..winning as many gold medals as Beijing four years earlier.
The gold medal winners and Olympic champions
are the team of Great Britain.
The Paralympians followed suit.
"GOD SAVE THE QUEEN" PLAYS
By the end of the year, Brailsford had been awarded a knighthood.
-It's quite emotional.
But behind the scenes, there was less euphoria.
Even one of Britain's most distinguished Paralympian cyclists
had not been spared Sutton's unique management style.
Shane was always the person
that people didn't want to get on the wrong side of.
It would be him that would be deciding who got what
in terms of equipment and access to support.
And Shane would suddenly be like,
"I don't want any para-riders on the track at the moment."
Anybody that stepped out of line, or whatever, would be dealt with,
and people that spoke out, or, you know,
went up against Shane, would be removed.
Shane made all the decisions, really.
And I think quite a lot of the staff were scared of him.
And...that's the impression I got.
Everything had to be approved by Shane,
and certainly when I got on the bad side of him,
he was pretty mean to me, he upset me.
So I was scared of him.
Shane would start to, sort of, like, cajole the athletes,
and they would feel that they were being intimidated or bullied.
Some of them, not all.
Some of them welcomed it and said,
"No, this really gets me back in line again."
So I don't think there's any malice there.
I don't think he meant anything wrong.
But I got to the point after London,
we waited till after the Olympics, then I...
I went to Dave and said to him,
"Listen, I can't continue."
With the team psychiatrist expressing deep reservations
about the head coach,
British Cycling was forced to act.
An internal investigation
found evidence of fear, intimidation and bullying.
But the report's disturbing conclusions were quietly shelved,
and not shared with their paymasters at UK Sport.
There was an underlying issue about the drive and focus on success,
and had we had the full picture, we would have read in that report,
as you can read now,
that there was significant concerns about the culture
within the world-class programme
that needed to be addressed as a priority -
the report actually says that.
Was it an intense environment? Yeah, for sure.
For some people, sometimes it was pretty intense, I'd imagine -
for all of us.
But I don't think it was one where it was based around...
It wasn't a fear-based organisation.
I'm not... I wouldn't run an organisation with fear and bullying.
To me, you know, you can rule out the whole fear...
..you know. Actually, I love that word "fear,"
when you're looking at a bloke here, 60 years of age,
65 kilos, and people fear you? You've got to be kidding me!
Come on! You know?
No, I don't think fear comes into it at all.
I think Dave just set the bar high.
Despite the reservations
about Shane Sutton and his management style,
when Dave Brailsford left to concentrate on Team Sky in 2014,
British Cycling decided there was only one person
who could take over at the top.
Who can we turn to? Shane.
With Brailsford out of the picture,
it was now down to Sutton to achieve the almost impossible -
dominating a third Olympics in a row at the 2016 Rio Games.
At the last qualifying event before the games,
the simmering tensions within the squad
were about to explode into full public view.
This is the mixed zone where you can interview.
Straight after the race, you can interview the cyclists.
The noise is intense, people are cheering the next race on the track.
It's a great place to be, cos you get the raw emotion
of what it feels like to have, usually, in British Cycling's case,
have just won a race.
We were pretty much over the line in all the events
apart from women's team sprint.
Yeah, and we needed to beat the French,
or put a couple of teams between us and the French.
The women's sprint team of Jess Varnish and Katy Marchant
were under intense pressure
to qualify for their place in the Rio squad.
Although they came first,
their margin of victory isn't good enough to qualify for the Olympics.
And it sort of dawned on us, and it dawned on them...
they weren't going to go to Rio.
Here we had two sprint cyclists who knew,
amid all the glory and euphoria and preparation for the Rio Games,
they knew they wouldn't be going.
And instead of just standing there and saying,
"We're really disappointed,"
or even just saying they were embarrassed,
they did the unthinkable, which was they blamed their coaches.
Well, Jess, to put in a personal best as a duo
and not make that qualification, it must be a very bitter
feeling at the moment - bittersweet.
Completely bitter, to be honest. Obviously...
We had two women who were basically saying
they'd wasted their lives.
As Jess said, people above us have put...
Have made the complications for us,
and put us in the situation that we're in now.
Jess Varnish was saying,
"I'm 25, I've put my life in the hands of my coaches,
"and they've screwed me over."
We'll sort of go back now and chat to our coaches
about a different strategy. We don't know what that will be.
Well, it's pretty strong stuff there from Katy and from Jess...
Yeah, Jess is probably more frustrated
with her own performances over the last couple of years, I'd say.
And, you know, emotions are running high.
They've done a brilliant ride today...
It's pretty simple - she wasn't progressing,
and she wasn't going to medal at the Games.
There was no need to take her to the Games.
And to get narrow, as I said, to get better one-to-one coaching,
you need to narrow your squad as soon as possible.
And the coaching team felt that straight after the Worlds,
you know, Jess was surplus to requirements.
Within weeks, Jess Varnish had been dropped from the elite squad.
But she didn't go quietly.
British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton is accused of sexism.
She claims she was the subject of sexist comments
by the technical director.
Varnish claims that the British Cycling chief
told her to "go and have a baby." Sutton denies any wrongdoing...
It made people wonder, is British Cycling sexist?
Is this how you deal with someone that you've been treating
as a serious athlete?
Suddenly you're telling them,
"It's OK, your life's in ruins, but you can go and have a baby."
What's going on?
Did you tell her to move on and have a baby after that?
Yeah, I think there's just been a lot made of that,
and I actually laugh about it when I think about it now.
Did I tell her to lose some timber?
Yes. If that's what you want to ask next.
Varnish was not the first woman to raise sexism
as an issue in British Cycling.
Others had complained to Sutton
about the poor funding for women road racers
compared to the men's team.
Shane sort of shouted at me and told me I was being a troublemaker,
and I should be grateful, and there's loads of funding
for women's cycling, and I should shut up,
and, you know, I was a rider, not a manager.
I was a bit upset. I don't like being shouted at, and...
But, you know, that was what Shane was like.
He's hot or cold, and there's some aspects of his job
that he was very, very good at,
but possibly people management wasn't one of them.
But the allegations of unacceptable behaviour
by Sutton went much further.
I heard on a number of occasions him referring to us as "gimps,"
which was a new one for me, I must admit.
You know, it would be like,
"Oh, we don't want any of the gimps on the track today,"
or something like that. But it just became the norm.
So, we were right at the bottom of the food chain, if you like.
Yeah, I definitely wouldn't run around the building
as performance director making reference to athletes in that tone.
So, you know...
People can make what they want of that, but, you know,
I very much respected them.
It may well be that Shane uses language
he's not aware is inappropriate.
But it was too much.
It was too much for Shane to take,
it was too much for British Cycling to take.
So he stepped down, there was nowhere else for him to go.
Just 100 days before the Rio Olympics, British cycling,
one of our most successful sports, is in turmoil.
Shane Sutton, the team's technical director
has resigned after allegations of discrimination,
including using offensive language...
I was hurt by what was said, you know?
I'd walk across hot coals for them riders, and the staff.
I would do anything that it took to achieve success
for them as athletes.
Shane didn't have the skills to be a leader and manager of people.
Shane had technical cycling skills that were valued by the sport.
I think it was a wrong decision of the sport to position him in a role
which was beyond his capabilities.
The Rio Olympics, 2016.
-Laura Trott less than half a lap now
to Olympic gold as they come up towards the line.
Laura Trott's finished now!
It's a special, special Olympic moment for Great Britain.
Britain could take pride in the performance of British cyclists
who once again dominated the medal table.
Here he comes into the finishing straight.
Up towards the line, Jason Kenny...!
But as the squad that had been carefully hand-picked
and groomed by Sutton powered to success,
it was now clear those victories had come at a price.
The fallout to Shane leaving and the accusations made were enormous.
There was doubt that the fairy story of British Cycling
really was a fairy story,
or was it built on methods that are unacceptable?
We like our Olympians to be pure,
we like the way we get to winning medals to be pure,
we don't like the idea that it's tainted.
And in a way, what we should all do is have even more admiration
-for the people who go through the system.
-wouldn't do that.
I mean, you're just giving your life to an organisation.
I mean, we laugh at people who give their lives to cults,
but it's not that dissimilar.
As for Sir David Brailsford -
after leaving British Cycling in 2014,
he had fulfilled his childhood dream of dominating the Tour de France.
It was a stunning accomplishment,
as Team Sky secured a record four victories for British riders
in just five years.
But even Brailsford had not escaped the media storm.
-'What's to become of a cycling superhero?
'Since the hacking of his medical records, Sir Bradley Wiggins...
'Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins has found himself
having to deny the use of a banned substance...
'Wiggins is facing questions after the leak last week
'of three steroid...'
With the revelation that Bradley Wiggins
had received permission to take a banned corticosteroid at the Tour,
there were inevitably new questions to be answered.
We have to show and provide evidence from a specialist,
that they will then scrutinise, with three independent doctors,
and authorise you to take this product.
And at that point then, once I have a certificate
from the World Anti-Doping Agency
and the sports governing body, only then do you take the medication.
Now, the trouble with this particular drug
is that lots of people say it is also a performance enhancer.
David Millar said it was the most potent drug
that he's ever taken.
Yeah, but I think they were abusing that drug,
and this was to cure a medical condition.
But the questions continued to rack up...
-TV NEWS PRESENTER:
-'No records concerning a mystery package
'delivered for Sir Bradley Wiggins...'
..with the revelation of an unidentified package
couriered to Team Sky for a race in 2011.
There had been a delivery to Team Sky at the Dauphine in 2011,
which was in a jiffy bag, and no-one knew what this was.
Sir Bradley, we're just wondering if we can have a quick chat with you?
Sir Bradley, could you tell us about the mystery package?
Could you give us some light on that, please?
There was the question then of what was in it, who it was given to,
and because we don't have the answers, you can...
It is open to speculation.
It's sad, because, you know,
Brad achieved many great things in his career.
Personally, I believe he achieved those things clean.
But...these questions...sit there.
Those unanswered questions now came to a head at the House of Commons.
No-one is above questioning.
That's what Parliament is all about.
Questioning people in authority, people of responsibility,
significant people that exercise a lot of power
and influence over a sport, in this case.
The coaches, who between them had helped deliver 42 Olympic medals,
71 Paralympic medals, and four Tour de France wins for British riders,
are now summoned to testify before the Select Committee's inquiry
into doping in sport.
That is the moment where the tragedy reaches its climax.
These two national heroes, if you like,
people who have raised British sport to exalted levels...
Sir David, thank you very much for giving the time to come
-and give evidence to us today.
..being brought in front of the MPs and ritually humiliated.
I understand where your questioning is coming from,
but all I can do is tell you what I was told...
Neither Team Sky nor British Cycling
were able to answer the fundamental questions.
If this letter allows me to do so,
then I'd be more than happy to tell you what I was told.
Well, I think this letter does, in which case we'd all love to know.
Well, Dr Freeman told me that it was Fluimucil
that was in the package...
So this investigation has led to more and more questions, and often,
the teams have not been able to satisfactorily answer them.
Is there any evidence of what was in this package?
I can only relate what I've been told.
-So all you know is what Dr Freeman told you?
There's a huge loss of credibility.
To me, it's what I would call an emperor with no clothes moment.
What he does is so much based on credibility,
it's based on, "Believe in me and what I do."
You'll see there's no wrongdoing.
Well, I hope that will be the case, Mr Sutton.
And I'm upset that you question the integrity of our team,
which, to me, led by Sir Dave Brailsford, was the greatest...
IS the greatest sporting team, not only in British history -
it's in line with the All Blacks,
and I'm quite upset that you feel that way.
It is almost Shakespearean, because you have a sense of guys
who are driven by forces within them that they can't really control.
They're driven by the need to win, the need for success.
-Jason Kenny's got this.
And Jason Kenny wins the gold medal.
And the gold medal goes to Great Britain,
the Olympic champions again!
It's also something that we should all reflect upon,
because do we want an era where we win everything,
but there is a human cost to pay?
It's a golden hat-trick in Rio!
Or do we want to go back to the era when plucky Brits turned up
and finished 14th?
Do we want that?
People think that this is what it takes to win,
you've got to have this brutal, sort of,
atmosphere to be able to win.
And it's just the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.
As long as it's not sexist, racist, bullying,
I'm kind of game for it being tough as hell,
because that's what makes the best athletes.
It takes a certain kind of system to be compassionately ruthless,
because it's always ruthless.
It worries me at the minute where we're at,
in terms of it becoming too soft, really.
Life's not about being soft.
Life's tough. That's the reality of life.
And I want us to win.
I want to be proud of a nation where you can go,
"Actually, we're a nation of winners."
And I want to be part of that.
And a nation of gallant winners, brilliant.
I don't want to be a nation of losers.
Sir Dave Brailsford and other insiders tell the story of the extraordinary triumphs and recent controversies that have rocked Britain's cycling medal factory. Sir Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton are considered the two chief architects behind Britain's rise to cycling dominance at both the Olympics and the Tour De France. Both men are driven by a huge hunger to win and dominate their rivals. This relentless desire to beat their opponents led them to create the greatest medal-winning factory in British sporting history.
Yet both men have suffered criticism for the way they ran British Cycling; questions have also been raised about Bradley Wiggins's use of a medical exemption to allow him to take a corticosteroid during the Tour de France. With exclusive interviews and access, they now tell their story - how they built a winning machine on the track and at the Tour and how they respond to the critics of the regimes they built.