Shane Sutton calls for further explanation from Wiggins and Freeman
'Come forward and tell everybody what you went through,' says former Sky coach
Shane Sutton has refuted claims that Bradley Wiggins or any other Team Sky riders used Triamcinolone to lose weight in 2012 or that he bullied or pressured Dr Richard Freeman for performance-enhancing TUEs. Sutton had previously stated in a BBC documentary that Team Sky saw TUEs as a legitimate way of finding "marginal gains."
Sutton also called for Wiggins and the former Team Sky doctor Freeman to provide a full explanation of medical practices in the wake of the DCMS report on Combatting Doping in Sport.
In the DCMS report released Monday, Sutton said of Wiggins' TUEs: "What Brad was doing was unethical, but not against the rules." Wiggins responded to the DCMS report in a television interview with the BBC on Monday night in which he said he '100 per cent did not cheat', adding: "That really hurts me that someone like Shane would say that."
Speaking to Sky Sports News in Mallorca, Sutton explained that he had "no axe to grind with Brad" and simply wants a full explanation from Wiggins and Freeman regarding the findings of the DCMS report.
"My axe to grind here is that Brad and the Doc had the chance to come forward and they never did," Sutton said. "They had the chance to defend Dave Brailsford and it should have been them in front of the select committee. Not myself and Dave. That grieves me a little bit, but not to the point where I wouldn't sit down with Brad and have a drink.
“There is no problem there whatsoever. As I said, I watched him on TV last night and he looked very stressed. I am calling for him, like I said, and the doc to come forward and tell the truth."
Sutton was asked during the interview if he knew precisely when and where Wiggins used Triamcinolone. The Australian said he had little knowledge of the situation and called again for Wiggins and Freeman to clear up the facts and present a full explanation.
"I can't actually say I know a lot about Brad's use of it, in competition or out of competition," he said. "Obviously I am told by the doc that we have a TUE for this particular event, etcetera, etcetera. Outside out that, I keep saying to everybody that they have to go and sit down with Brad and the Doc and ask them, 'Were you sanctioned to use it by the UCI in lead-ups to major tours and everything else?' Because, obviously, he is a sufferer.
"When you actually have been on a col and seen him suffering like I have seen him suffer and seen him gasping for breath at the end of that particular effort - which everyone will say you always get out of breath making an effort - to see what he was going through, I can't answer all the questions like you just asked me, how often he used it or when he did. That is something only Brad and the Doc can tell us."
Sutton was also asked why there was inconsistency in the explanation of Wiggins's TUE use in the DCMS report and the rider's BBC interview. The report stated Wiggins received fewer than 10 doses of Triamcinolone, but may have received as many as nine. Following the Fancy Bears’ leak of his TUEs, Wiggins had previously denied being given the substance out-of-competition but then told the select committee that had done so once in 2013. The DCMS report found that Sky had acted unethically, but had not cheated by the letter of the law. Sutton suggesting that a full explanation would help bat away claims that Wiggins and Team Sky had cheated.
"That is why I am calling on Brad and the Doc to come forward now and explain all to everybody. As you've just stated, and everybody knows, the word cheat needs to be taken out of the equation here because the report, in the tabloids and everything else, is that he didn't cheat. So come forward and tell everybody what you went through, how many times you actually administered this particular corticosteroid or whatever to combat what you were going through and I think then let's just put it to bed."
There also remain inconsistencies regarding the Jiffy bag that was delivered to Sky on the final day of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné, the contents of which remain unknown. Asked its contents in his interview with the BBC on Monday, Wiggins said: "Your guess is as good as mine."
It also unclear when and where the contents of the Jiffy bag were administrated to Wiggins. Sutton suggested Wiggins was treated on the team bus at the finish in La Toussuire. Wiggins stated to the BBC he was not treated on the team bus, but said that he was treated with the legal decongestant Fluimucil in Sestriere later that evening
"Yeah, I understand that he was treated on the bus and I thought that was public knowledge," said Sutton. "This goes back to 12 months ago when I was interviewed by parliament. That's the statement I made and that's what the doctor told me. So, once again, I would call for the doctor and Brad to come forward in front of you and answer these questions you are asking me."
Sky News reportedly contacted Dr Freeman via telephone with the doctor stating that he treated Wiggins at a training camp at Sestriere several hours after the 2011 Dauphiné had concluded.
Sutton rebuffed the suggestion in the DCMS report that Wiggins and a number of Sky riders used Triamcinolone to lose weight ahead of the 2012 Tour de France, a claim also rejected by Team Sky.
"I totally refute that. If it was to happen, do you not think with the governing bodies that are out there with the whereabouts system in place, these riders were not tested?," he said. "They were tested on a regular basis. Whether you were in a Tenerife training camp (or elsewhere). I just want to clarify this - what you have to remember is that Brad and I tended to work in isolation in that period the source says this happened. So I'd like to know when. There are not that many occasions when I was present and all the riders of the Tour had come together to work with Brad.
"I have no recollection of ever training with that group or knowing where that particular group were together as this person says. I know what training camps I was on with Brad. For me that is a total lie from someone who I would say has an axe to grind with Team Sky."
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By Josh Croxton