Bradley Wiggins calls for fresh probe to get to testosterone truth after Dr Freeman verdict
"I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would use that for doping in that period, particularly with the amount of testing in that time," stressed Bradley Wiggins on his latest Eurosport podcast. Wiggins is calling for another inquiry and said athletes in the British Cycling system had been let down by the Richard Freeman testosterone saga.
'Someone must know' – Wiggins calls for fresh probe to get to testosterone truth
Bradley Wiggins says he would be surprised if the testosterone at the centre of the Richard Freeman trial was for a rider, saying he doubted anyone was "in that game for doing s*** like that, or stupid enough". Wiggins also called for a fresh investigation to finally settle the lingering questions which have cast a shadow over British cycling.
The news sent shockwaves through the sport, with Freeman’s links to British Cycling and Team Sky casting a shadow over a stunning decade of dominance on the road and track. GB have won 14 gold medals in cycling disciplines at the last two Olympics, while Team Sky have claimed six Tour de France titles since 2012.
Now Wiggins, who won the first of those Tours and struck gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, has spoken out on the furore.
"I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would use that [Testogel] for doping in that period, particularly given the amount of testing in that time: the blood passports, in-house testing, out-of-competition with UKAD [UK Anti-Doping]," he said on The Bradley Wiggins Show.
"What needs to happen now is to alleviate this assumption that it must have been for a rider. Not necessarily. It might have been for a staff member… it might have been for someone from another sport. Who knows.
"Was it a mistake? Apparently it was. Then it should be easy to substantiate and show factual evidence."
A portrait of Richard Freeman, a member of the Great Britain Olympic Cycling team during the Team GB Kitting Out ahead of Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Image credit: Getty Images
He continued: "This whole charge that they [Testogel sachets] were for a rider, I don’t think anyone was in that game for doing s*** like that, or stupid enough. You’d get caught the amount of times you were tested."
Freeman claimed he was bullied into ordering 30 sachets of Testogel by former Team Sky technical director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction. Sutton dismissed this and said he has been made a "scapegoat".
Wiggins is now calling for another inquiry, admitting that a cloud hovers over the sport with questions still unanswered.
"What exactly happened? Someone must know," said Wiggins. "‘Oh s***, accidentally a load of testosterone gel’s come in.’ You’re jeopardising your duty of care towards athletes, people’s kids, husbands and wives. People who are in there, in this great British system which has won all these Olympic medals over the years, funded by public money – that is not good enough.
There needs to be more of an explanation. Who were they for then? What the bloody hell were they for? I don’t think for one minute they were for any rider. That wasn’t the type of system that was run.
"Of course, that leaves this cloud, I understand that and it makes a bloody good story as well. But this one is a bit different. There’s something else going on and someone knows something, and I don’t quite know what the hell is going on. But it needs a follow-up now."
He added: "It’s left it with no actual conclusion. It’s guilty of a charge with a sidepiece: ‘maybe to dope a rider’.
"Well, I don’t think so to be honest. But that’s the way it looks and I understand that. But rather than just leave it at that, can we just get to the bottom of it. There should be another investigation and I think that’s probably the best way to do it."
Freeman's hearing will continue on Wednesday when the tribunal will consider if his "fitness to practise" as a doctor is impaired. He worked for Team Sky and British Cycling between 2009 and 2017. UKAD have also charged Freeman with two violations. UKAD Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead said: "UKAD acknowledges today’s decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal in the case of Dr Richard Freeman.
"Following the announcement, UKAD can confirm that Dr Richard Freeman has been charged under the UK Anti-Doping Rules (UK ADR) with two violations - Possession of Prohibited Substances and/or Prohibited Methods and Tampering or Attempted Tampering with any part of Doping Control. While the charges are pending, Dr Freeman is subject to a provisional suspension from all sport. We do not intend to make any further comment at this time.”
Responding to last week's verdict, British Cycling CEO, Brian Facer, said: "I thank the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel for the time and efforts they have made to reach this decision. As a co-referrer in this case, British Cycling believes it was in the public interest and in the best interests of our sport that the allegations against Dr Richard Freeman were heard and examined openly by the MPTS.
"The verdict of the panel confirms British Cycling’s own findings that he had failed in his duties as a doctor and supports our decision to refer him to the GMC for further investigation. The finding that the 2011 delivery of testosterone gel was intended for the illegal enhancement of a rider’s performance is extremely disturbing. We leave any further action in respect of this to UK Anti-Doping, whose work will have our wholehearted support.
"The wider actions of Dr Freeman described in the tribunal fall a mile short of the standards we expect. Since suspending Dr Freeman from his employment by British Cycling four years ago, we have made substantial changes to the way we provide medical services to riders competing for Great Britain, amid much wider improvements to our governance which we believe now put us at the forefront of our sector."