Former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton (main pix) believes star rider Bradley Wiggins and the national governing body will be exonerated amid an ongoing investigation by United Kingdom Anti-Doping.
Wiggins has been in the spotlight since leaked medical data showed the five-time Olympic champion had been granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) by cycling authorities for the powerful steroid triamcinolone, which he was permitted to take before the 2012 Tour de France, which he won, and the 2011 Tour and 2013 Giro d’Italia.
UKAD is also looking into a package delivered to Team Sky at the end of a Criterium du Dauphine stage race won by Wiggins in June 2011. Team Sky — and Wiggins — deny wrongdoing and is co-operating with UKAD.
Dave Brailsford, the team principal, has also come under pressure for not revealing the contents of the package.
The Australian Sutton quit his British team post 100 days before this year’s Rio Olympics amid allegations of discrimination.
“Our record at British Cycling speaks for itself, our record at (Team) Sky is brilliant, they’ve endorsed clean cycling from day one,” Sutton, a controversial figure, told BBC Radio Five on Sunday.
“Knowing Sir Dave Brailsford and the way he works, his work ethic, he’s been the big pioneer for clean cycling and we built our success off evidence-based programmes. The evidence will come out and I’m sure that they’ll be exonerated.”
Sutton, who was at the Dauphine race, added: “It’s not something uncommon for a coach or a logistics person to bring out a parcel. I don’t know too much about the whole story but I’ve had a chat with UK Anti-Doping.
“Let the truth come out and move on.”
Wiggins, 36, who in 2012 became the first Briton to win the Tour de France, plans to retire at the end of this year and is set to race on home soil for the final time at the London Six Day event, starting on Tuesday.
“I think we all need to get behind him again and support him because in my belief, this guy has done no wrong,” said Sutton.
British Cycling announced this week that chief executive Ian Drake will stand down in April, a move he said was not linked to the recent controversies involving Wiggins and Team Sky.
“The timing’s not great as far as the announcement’s concerned but I wish him well,” said Sutton. “He was a big supporter of mine. It’s a sad day for British Cycling to see the end of Ian Drake’s tenure.”
Sutton said he would he happy to return to work for British Cycling if he is cleared by a separate internal inquiry into his conduct.
“I resigned when I did to take the heat off the team 100 days out from the Olympic Games,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.
“But I totally refute the claims.” – Agence France-Presse