Former British Cycling coach Shane Sutton says it is time for Sir Bradley Wiggins and ex-Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman to give a full explanation of how they used anti-asthma drugs during his career.
Sutton spoke to Sky Sports News’ Orla Chennaoui in Majorca in the wake of Monday’s government report, which claimed Wiggins and Team Sky crossed an ethical line.
The report said they used drugs permitted by anti-doping rules to enhance performance and not just for medical need.
Wiggins – the first Brit to win the Tour de France in 2012 – has issued a full denial and says he 100% did not cheat.
Sutton agreed that Wiggins never cheated and that cycling rules allowed him to take the drug Triamcinolone to treat his serious asthma problem.
But the coach said he would like to see Wiggins offer a more extensive explanation of his use of drugs.
Sutton, who worked for Team Sky, was grilled by MPs in October last year after it emerged that Wiggins was treated with what Sky said was a decongestant in 2011.
Sutton said: I’ve no axe to grind with Brad. Brad and the doctor had the chance to come forward.
They never came forward. They had a chance to defend Dave Brailsford and myself. It should have been them in front of the select committee – not myself and Dave.
That aggrieved 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 – he looked very stressed. I’m calling for him and the doctor to come forward now and tell the truth.
Sutton played a central role in Bradley Wiggins’s 2012 Tour de France victory and was involved with Team Sky from its earliest days in 2009 and its first year of competition in 2010.
He stepped down as head coach in 2013 but continued to work with the team in a consultancy role until April 2016.
Despite holding a close relationship with Wiggins, both professionally and non-professionally, he said he does not know much about his use of Triamcinolone.
I can’t actually say I know a lot about Brad’s use of it, whether in competition or out of it, he added.
I’m told by the doctor that we have a particular TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemptions) for this particular event.
Outside of that, I keep saying this to everybody, you have to sit down with Brad and the doc and ask them.
We were sanctioned to use it by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling’s governing body) in the lead up to major tours and everything else because obviously he is a sufferer.
When you have actually seen him suffer like I have and seen him gasping for breath at the end of a particular effort. Everyone will say ‘You always get out of breath making an effort’, but I saw what he was going through.
I can’t answer all the questions on how he used it or when he used it. I think that is something only Brad and the doctor can tell us.
Sutton says he is calling on Wiggins and Dr Freeman to come forward to clear up the inconsistencies between what the DCMS committee heard about the frequency of Wiggins’ use of the drug, compared to what the rider said himself on Monday.
The report claims Wiggins had been administered with the drug on nine occasions, within the rules, but Wiggins has only admitted to using it once.
That’s why I am calling on them both to come forward and now explain everything to everybody, Sutton said. The word cheat needs to be taken out of the equation here because the report says that he didn’t cheat.
So come forward and tell everybody what you went through, how many times you actually administrated this particular corticosteroid, what you had to combat. And then let’s just put it to bed.
Further controversy centres around a jiffy bag which was delivered to Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine race in 2011.
No one has been able to get to the bottom of what was in the bag or whether it was something Wiggins was treated with on the team bus.
Dr Freeman says it was a legal decongestant and Wiggins insisted in an interview on Monday that he was not treated on the team bus.
Sutton says he was told that Wiggins was in fact treated on the bus.
Sky Sports News spoke to Dr Freeman on the phone on Tuesday and he maintained he did not treat Wiggins on the team bus at Dauphine, but did treat him at the training camp at Sestiere hours later.
Dr Freeman says he treated Wiggins with a legal decongestant called fluimucil via a nebuliser.
As part of the DCMS report, an anonymous source claimed that Wiggins and a small group of riders trained separately and used Triamcinolone to ‘lean down’ and lose weight in preparation to major races in 2012.
Team Sky strongly deny the claim, and so does Sutton.
He continued: I totally refute that. If it was to happen, do you not think with the governing bodies that are out there with the whereabout system in place, these riders were not tested? They were tested on a regular basis.
That source also claimed that Sutton bullied and repeatedly put pressure on Dr Freeman to use TUEs to improve performance of the team.
Sutton completely denied the accusation.