Dave Brailsford should be suspended following Freeman verdict, says DCMS member

during stage 10 of the 2017 Le Tour de France, a 178km stage from Périgueux to Bergerac on July 11, 2017 in Perigueux, France.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A British member of parliament and the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee has called on Ineos to suspend Dave Brailsford from his current role on the WorldTour cycling team and for a full investigation to be launched following the damning verdict in the Dr Richard Freeman hearing.

On Friday former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, Richard Freeman, was found guilty by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPTS) of ordering testosterone “knowing or believing” that it was for the benefit of a rider to enhance their performance. The rider has not been identified but Brailsford maintained a senior management position at British Cycling and Team Sky when the order was made back 2011. 

Freeman resigned both of his roles by 2017 and although Brailsford is no longer part of British Cycling he still runs the British WorldTour team Ineos Grenadiers. 

The Daily Telegraph have reported that Clive Efford, the former shadow sports minister and now a member of the DCMS has said: “Until this is cleared up, all those involved shouldn’t be anywhere near the sport. Clearly, there are questions to be answered and people should be suspended while this is properly investigated.”

“Dave Brailsford gave reassurances about how clean his teams were and unless he was in full control of what was going on, he couldn’t make those assurances. We have to question, if he didn’t know, why didn’t he? And if it was possible for this to happen, how could he have given assurances that his team was clean?”

Ineos Grenadiers have yet to comment and calls from Cyclingnews to Brailsford on Friday were not answered.

Shane Sutton, who was at the centre of the Freeman hearings has released a statement. Sutton worked closely under Brailsford at Team Sky and British Cycling, and Freeman had alleged that the testosterone ordered had been for the Australian’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton denied this at the time and the MPTS agreed that Freeman had been dishonest over the reasons for ordering the banned substance. 

On Friday, Sutton stated that neither he or Brailsford knew why the drug had been ordered. 

"I feel for the doctor; that he ever got into this situation, and I remain disappointed that I was used as a scapegoat. It has caused great pain to both me and my family. But it also saddens me that this episode has cast a huge shadow over the success we enjoyed, both at Team Sky and British Cycling," Sutton said.

"I'd like to stress that neither I nor Sir Dave Brailsford knew about the testosterone order. But I think it's important to find out who the doctor ordered it for. Hopefully that will emerge from the investigation by UK Anti-Doping."

Efford’s comments are similar to those of Damien Collins who chaired the DCMS in 2016 during the UKAD investigation surrounding British Cycling, Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins and the infamous Jiffy-bag.

At the time, Collins told Cyclingnews that "I think this leaves them [Team Sky and British Cycling – ed.] in a terrible position. I think British Cycling should be keeping records of drugs they are supplying. It's very confused as to what drugs are being used by Team Sky and British Cycling. The impression that's given is that Dr. Freeman is just ordering drugs at will with no records being kept of what he's doing.

"First of all, it's absolutely damning that there are no records," Collins said at the time.

"How can you run a clean team or a clean sport when you don't know what the doctor is giving the cyclists? That's at the heart of this. I think that the credibility of the Fluimucil story has been undermined by the fact that there are no records. Not only are there no records of Fluimucil being supplied on that race, they can't provide any records of it ever being supplied by British Cycling to Team Sky. That undermines the credibility of that story."

On Friday Collins, who remains an MP but no longer sits on the DCMS, released a statement in which he said: “The extraordinary case of Dr Freeman poses major questions for British sport. How could the chief doctor for Team Sky and British Cycling order a banned substance ‘knowing or believing’ it was too help a rider cheat the anti-doping rules? Was this a one off, who was the recipient, why was there supposedly no supervision of what he was ordering? This is not just about the failure of one man to adhere to the rules and the standards expected of him, but a failure at the time of the management of the team he worked for, including the national governing body of the sport."

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.