Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has said that he “had very little contact” with Shane Sutton and added that the former British Cycling and Team Sky coach didn’t particularly like him, suggesting it was borne of Froome's developing rivalry with Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Sutton is one of the central figures in the medical tribunal of Richard Freeman, a former doctor for the two aforementioned organisations.
During the hearing, concerns from Sutton, who was head coach in 2012, were heard where he expressed worry about the relationship Froome had with former Team Sky coach Bobby Julich.
'That was some performance' - Wiggins reacts to Kiesenhofer winning road race
- Exclusive: 'Not good enough' – Wiggins calls for fresh probe to get to testosterone truth
- Freeman says he is not a 'doping doctor' after tribunal verdict
- Former British Cycling doctor Freeman found guilty of ordering banned testosterone
Julich was a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong and he left Team Sky in 2012. His departure came after the team asked all team members, including riders, staff and management to sign a document declaring they had no previous involvement in doping.
Sutton’s concerns are believed to have been investigated at the time. Froome spoke to the Mail on Sunday after Freeman was found guilty by a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service of ordering testosterone "knowing or believing it was to be administered to an athlete to improve their athletic performance".
“I am not aware of any specific follow-ups, but all the riders on Team Sky were subject to internal reviews of their data on an ongoing basis,” Froome said in the interview.
I had very little contact with Shane Sutton as he was Brad’s coach. I know Shane wasn’t especially fond of me, particularly at that time.
“There was an element of internal rivalry as I was challenging for leadership of the team over the rider he coached.”
'Not good enough' – Wiggins calls for fresh probe to get to testosterone truth
Wiggins, now a pundit for Eurosport, also discussed the verdict on his podcast, The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport.
The 2012 Tour de France winner has called for a fresh investigation to finally settle the lingering questions which have cast a shadow over British cycling.
"He’s been found guilty of all of it, we know that. That was in the first hearing. The company had clarified that they’d sent that (‘Testogel’), the pharmaceutical company."
'Someone must know' – Wiggins calls for fresh probe to get to testosterone truth
"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."
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."
Cycling is back! Watch the biggest races from the 2021 season. Sign up here for 50% off, 100% non-stop thrills
'Just too strong' - Wiggins hails new Olympic champion Carapaz
'One of phenomenal Carapaz's biggest wins' - Wiggins reacts to road race