Bradley Wiggins has said the Dr Richard Freeman case “stinks to high heaven”, and that although he doesn’t believe the order of the banned Testogel was for a rider, that a further investigation is necessary to uncover exactly what happened in order to remove the “cloud hanging over” the whole scandal.
“The whole think stinks to high heaven. It’s been ten years now but it wants looking into further. Yes he’s been found guilty and it falls on his head but who else’s head does it fall on? Now, can we look into it a bit further and ask ‘what exactly happened? Someone must know?'” Wiggins said on his Eurosport podcast.
Ineos Grenadiers have denied any wrongdoing, while British Cycling said it has found the entire episode “extremely disturbing” and will leave any further action to UK Anti-Doping.
Wiggins added: “Because otherwise, the duty of care…you know my son is in there with British Cycling at the moment, is this sort of stuff going on? ‘Oh sh*t, accidentally a whole load of testosterone’s come in’ and no-one knows…you’re jeopardising your duty of care towards athletes, peoples’ kids, peoples’ husbands and wives.
“The people that are in there in this GB system that we’ve got that’s won medals with all this public money…it’s not good enough.”
Wiggins also says he doesn’t believe the banned Testogel was for a rider, a belief shared by Ineos Grenadiers in their official statement on the matter, as there was so much testing going on in the early 2010s.
“Who the bloody hell were [the 30 sachets of Testogel] for?” Wiggins continued. “I don’t think for one minute they were for any rider, at all. I don’t think that was the type of system that was run. Of course, that leaves this cloud hanging over it because it makes a bloody good story as well.
“I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would have used that for doping in that particular period, particularly with the amount of testing in that time, the blood passport, in-house testing, out-of-competition if you lived in the UK with UKAD, we tallied it up earlier and I was probably tested 56 times that year. And I was winning a few races and stuff which puts you in more stringent testing.
“Yes we know it was Testogel, there’s nothing new there, but what needs to happen now is alleviate this assumption that it must have been for a rider. Well not necessarily, it might have been for a staff member, might have been for a female athlete, might have been for someone in another sport.”
As for where the scandal goes from here, Wiggins argues that the guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily tell us anything new, but that a new investigation is needed to get to the bottom of why the banned substance was in the British Cycling and Team Sky HQ in the first place.
“The pharmaceutical company had clarified that they’d sent [the Testogel], as far as I’m aware there was Steve Peters up at the box who said ‘what the hell’s this doing here?’ and then there was a sort of breakdown or loss of evidence or facts or line of communication that got sent back. And then the whole barrel of different explanations after that.
“There’s something going on, someone knows something and I don’t quite know what’s going on. But it needs a follow-up now, we’ve waited all this time for a guilty verdict but we knew that already. This whole thing about the charge that it’s for a rider. A) I don’t think anyone was in the game of doing sh*t like that or B) was stupid enough, you’d get caught the number of times you were tested.
“If they were aware of someone, someone in Team Sky, then that should have been acted upon, because they would have seen it with in-house testing, why else have in-house testing? The whole thing of zero tolerance on drugs…but it’s left this now where there’s no actual conclusion…there’s the guilty charge with a side-piece of ‘maybe it was 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 can we get to the bottom of it. I mean should have another investigation, and I think that’s probably the way to do it.”