Shane Sutton raised concerns about Chris Froome’s relationship with coach in 2012, Freeman tribunal hears

The medical tribunal heard evidence of Team Sky’s anti-doping shake-up

Shane Sutton raised concerns about Chris Froome’s relationship with a coach in 2012, the Freeman medical tribunal has heard. 

The ongoing hearing, which is investigating claims Dr Richard Freeman ordered testosterone patches to be administered to an athlete, has heard evidence around Team Sky’s major anti-doping shake-up in 2012.  

A report from The Times newspaper described the Tribunal hearing that Sutton had concerns about Froome’s relationship with former Team Sky coach Bobby Julich. 

Julich, a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong who has admitted using EPO during his racing career, had helped Froome with his time trialling. 

In 2012 Team Sky wanted to address potential links to doping within the team, which caused team boss Sir Dave Brailsford and Dr Steve Peters to carry out interviews with staff. 

Staff were also asked to sign a declaration that they had not been involved in doping, with anyone confessing to using performance enhancing drugs being asked to leave the team. 

The process resulted in the departure of key team staff like Steven De Jongh and coach Bobby Julich. 

Sutton, who was then working as Brailsford’s deputy, was also interviewed as part of the process. 

During Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal hearing the barrister for Freeman Mary O’Rourke QC gave details of Sutton’s interview.

When asked in the interview if he had ever been involved in doping, Sutton said no. 

Sutton was then invited to share any other concerns he had about doping in the team with Brailsford and Peters, with the Australian then referencing Froome “going to Italy on a motorbike” and his relationship with Julich, who Froome had sought? advice from to improve his time trialling. 

The Times reported there was no further detail and no suggestion that Froome had been involved in any doping. 

Sutton’s concerns are believed to have been investigated at the time, but no evidence of wrongdoing was found. 

Ineos Grenadiers, formerly known as Team Sky, has declined to comment on the evidence and Froome has not responded to the story. 

Dr Richard Freeman, a former Team Sky and British Cycling, is facing the fitness to practice hearing because of a mystery testosterone delivery in 2011.  

Freeman’s Medical Practitioners Tribunal hearing, being held in Manchester, centres around allegations he ordered 30 testosterone sachets, which were delivered to British Cycling headquarters in Manchester in 2011, and then lied to cover up the order. 

He has admitted 18 of the 22 charges against him, but denies the banned substance was ordered for an athlete to dope, instead claiming he was “bullied” into ordering the testosterone by Shane Sutton to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton denies this. 

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The hearing initially got underway in October last year, but the process has been marred by delays and legal arguments.

The tribunal continues.

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