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FORMER British Cycling performance director Shane Sutton wants UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) to get to the bottom of the key outstanding questions left by Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal.
The verdict delivered today found that the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor ordered testosterone gel in 2011 knowing or believing it was to be given to a rider for the purposes of doping.
Freeman had claimed he had ordered the testosterone to treat Sutton for erectile dysfunction, which the Australian vehemently denied before storming out of the long-running tribunal back in 2019.
Ukad has subsequently confirmed it has charged Freeman with possession of prohibited substance and tampering or attempted tampering with a doping control in the wake of the hearings.
Following today’s verdict, Sutton issued a statement which said: “I’m saddened by the whole affair. 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. I’d like to stress that neither I nor 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.”
Brailsford is yet to comment on the verdict, but already one MP has called for the Ineos Grenadiers team principal and ex-British Cycling performance director to be suspended pending a full investigation.
Clive Efford, who sits on the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee which concluded its Combatting Doping In Sport inquiry in 2018, 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.”
Damian Collins, who was chair of the DCMS committee at the time of its inquiry, said Freeman’s case could not be viewed in isolation.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Collins wrote: “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 to 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 case is not just about the failure of one man to adhere to the rules and the standards expected of him, but a failure at that time of the management of the teams he worked for, including the national governing body of the sport.”
Brian Cookson, who was president of British Cycling between 1996 and 2013 before serving a single term as head of the world governing body the UCI, criticised Freeman and “the damage his actions have done to our sport.”
Cookson wrote in a blog: “I made anti-doping a key focus of my time both with British Cycling and later with the International Cycling Union (UCI), working closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency and other key partners to ensure robust and independent testing, transparency and to establish a culture of fair play.
“That this should now be open to question is a matter of extreme concern to me and all of those who work or have worked behind the scenes in our sport, in governance, management, administration and coaching, whether as staff or volunteers.
“I therefore call upon Dr Freeman to fully co-operate with the UK Anti-Doping investigation into this matter and to provide full, frank and honest information to them.”
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