Former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton was “absolutely lying” when he told parliament that he had no knowledge of doping, according to a former team-mate. Appearing at Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal, Czech rider Kvetoslav Palov said there were rumours Sutton had been given £10,000-worth of performance-enhancing drugs during the 1987 season when the two men were riding for the ANC-Halfords team.
Freeman’s fitness-to-practice case centres on the ordering of banned testosterone patches while he was working for British Cycling.
Freeman denies “knowing or believing” that these were intended for use by an athlete and says he was bullied into ordering them for Sutton to treat erectile dysfunction. Sutton denies this.
In 2016, Sutton – who was also second in command to Sir Dave Brailsford at Team Sky – told a digital, culture, media and sport select committee into doping in sport that he had no personal experience of being around any doping, either as a rider or coach.
“Anyone who has been in and around pro cycling for so long and isn’t aware of anyone taking drugs is absolutely lying,” said Palov, who the Guardian reports was called as a witness by Freeman’s defence team.
The Czech said that during the 1987 Tour of Britain, he and Sutton had used a toilet at a McDonald’s in Edinburgh that had, “syringes all over the place from bike riders”.
He said he had also heard a rumour that team helper Angus Fraser had, “spent £10,000 on drugs for Shane Sutton,” that season.
Under cross-examination, Palov conceded he had not visited the toilets in question “with Sutton” and that it may not have been a McDonald’s – “It could have been a different restaurant.”
However, he denied making a false statement.
“Everybody in that peloton who started that race would have used that toilet,” he said. “Shane would have been there as well. I am not saying we went in there holding hands. My point was that anyone saying they had no [experience] of drug use was absolutely not true.”
The tribunal also heard this week from Tony Cooke, the father of former Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, who said he had provided UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) with evidence Sutton had used drugs.
Cooke said he provided the name of an ex-teammate of Sutton’s who wished to go on record as having witnessed Sutton using performance enhancing drugs, along with anecdotal evidence to support that.
He said he left a meeting with Ukad feeling his evidence would “not be followed up”.
Freeman’s tribunal is due to conclude in May.