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AN EX-TEAMMATE of former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton told a tribunal today that anyone involved in cycling during the time they rode together would be “absolutely lying” if they denied first-hand knowledge of doping.
In 2016, Sutton told a parliamentary committee under oath that he had no direct knowledge of illicit drug-taking during his time either as a coach or a rider.
But Kvetoslav Palov, who was a teammate of Sutton with ANC Halfords in 1987, disputed the veracity of his statement as he gave evidence during the fitness-to-practise medical tribunal of former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman.
“Anybody who has been in professional cycling for so long who claims that he was never aware of anyone taking drugs in the sport is absolutely lying,” Palov claimed.
Freeman has admitted 18 of 22 charges against him, but denies the General Medical Council’s (GMC) central charge of ordering testosterone “knowing or believing” it was to be used to dope a rider, claiming instead it was to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton has rejected the claim.
Palov told the tribunal that he had been prompted to make his own submission to Parliament’s culture, media and sport committee after learning of Sutton’s evidence. But he was challenged on the accuracy of his own assertions by Simon Jackson QC, acting on behalf of the GMC.
In his statement contradicting Sutton’s claim, Palov recalled the 1987 Tour of Britain and said that prior to the opening stage in Edinburgh, he and Sutton had gone to a toilet at a nearby fast-food restaurant where there were “syringes all over the place from bike riders.”
When asked about the statement, Palov said he had tried to amend the wording of it as he had not gone to the toilet at the same time as Sutton, but those changes were not made. He said he could only make a “pretty solid assumption” that Sutton had also been there.
“My point was that if anyone was saying they had no knowledge of drug use it was absolutely not true. That was basically what I was trying to say.”
The tribunal continues.
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