Former Team Sky and British Cycling team doctor Richard Freeman has accused ex-coach Shane Sutton of orchestrating claims that the infamous jiffy bag delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins during a major race contained a banned substance as he revealed he had suicidal thoughts during an investigation into the controversy.
Freeman has given his first set of interviews since UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) launched an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the "mystery package" given to Sir Bradley at the Critérium du Dauphiné seven years ago.
He told The Times that he was the victim of a "set-up" designed by Sutton and aimed at damaging his and Sir Bradley's reputations following a number of arguments between the Australian and the 2012 Tour de France winner.
Freeman, who failed to attend a Parliamentary hearing into the scandal in December 2016, claimed Sutton was behind the original suggestion that the package contained the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone, which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances.
He dismissed the claims as "outrageous" and again insisted the package actually contained Fluimucil, a legal decogestant.
In an interview with the BBC, Freeman reiterated his admission that the could not prove this because a laptop containing medical records was stolen in 2014 but revealed he was now in possession of a document which supports his explanation.
The doctor, who reportedly resigned from his role with British Cycling last year because of the stress of the investigation, also expressed his regret that he had given Sir Bradley triamcinolone.
In hindsight, he said he would "act differently" and would "advise him there is a reputational risk here".
"So Shane sends me messages: ‘A reporter knows you gave triamcinolone on the back of the bus,'" Freeman, whose book The Line: Where Medicine and Sport Collide is due to be published later this week, told The Times.
"I thought, 'Woah, this is [a] set-up', so I’m not even going to answer the phone, I put him on block.
"Then a reporter doorstepped [the physio] Phil Burt.
"I’ve seen Phil Burt’s statement to UKAD, he told them it was Fluimucil."
In response to Freeman's claims, Sutton told The Times: "I have always supported Richard through his many personal problems during his time at British Cycling.
"I think you will find no reference to bullying in his book."
Freeman also sought to explain the reasons why he did not appear in front of the Select Committee.
"I went down to the Select Committee the day before, but that's when unfortunately I had a breakdown and it was the final straw," he told the BBC.
"I found the investigation, initially by the newspapers and then by UKAD, very stressful.
"I suffered from a major depressive illness.
"You lose all your energy for life, you can't sleep, you feel helpless, hopeless, worthless, guilty about all sorts of things... you can have suicidal thoughts."
In a statement, British Cycling said they were "disappointed Dr Richard Freeman has chosen to publish this book having refused to fully participate in our investigation into record keeping and medicines management".
"We hope publication confirms Dr Freeman's return to good health and therefore his willingness to now partake in the resolution of outstanding inquiries," the governing body added.