Richard Freeman has admitted 18 of the 22 charges against him but denies the central charge that, in May 2011, he ordered testosterone in the form of Testogel sachets to British Cycling headquarters knowing or believing it was to be used to dope a rider
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 26/01/21 8:30am
The “inextricable conclusion” of the long-running hearing into former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman is that he ordered testosterone for doping purposes, a tribunal has been told.
Those were the words of General Medical Council (GMC) QC Simon Jackson as he finished his summing up of the case against Dr Freeman.
The physician has admitted 18 of the 22 charges but denies the central charge that, in May 2011, he ordered testosterone in the form of Testogel sachets to British Cycling headquarters knowing or believing it was to be used to dope a rider.
Dr Freeman’s defence is he ordered the Testogel having been bullied into doing so by former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction, something the Australian vehemently denies.
Jackson laid out why the GMC believes that neither the erectile dysfunction claim nor the accusation of bullying add up, highlighting messages from Sutton in support of Dr Freeman.
Regarding a threatening message the medic claims he received from Sutton on the eve of the hearing, Jackson said: “Why not bring the text to the attention of the police, certainly your solicitor? None of this happens.
“Surprise, surprise, when proceedings are under way, there have been UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) interviews, you’re just about to start the first hearing, what happens to critical evidence, alleged threats from the man you say you ordered the Testogel from?
“You delete these texts and you trade in your phone. There’s a theme here.”
During the hearing, Dr Freeman admitted to either losing or destroying data from three separate laptops.
Jackson cited the evidence of endocrinologist Dr Richard Quinton in arguing the Testogel would not have been the correct prescription for Sutton even if Dr Freeman’s evidence was accurate.
“We know that it just does not do what it says on the tin,” said the QC. “Dr Freeman accepts that it wasn’t clinically indicated.
“How can it ever have been thought that prescribing something to your work-place bully that doesn’t work could ever be seen to impress?”
Jackson then moved on to making the case that doping was the real reason Dr Freeman ordered the Testogel.
He referenced the known use of testosterone for micro-dosing within cycling and Dr Freeman’s interest in monitoring the testosterone levels of the riders at Team Sky – now Team Ineos.
“There was the opportunity for Dr Freeman to identify a rider and, against that background, in May 2011 think this was the way he was going to solve it by obtaining something the medical evidence clearly shows would be beneficial,” said Jackson.
In conclusion, Jackson also made strong reference to Team Sky’s change of medical culture at the end of an unsuccessful first season in 2010.
Having not employed doctors linked to cycling and the sport’s inescapably questionable past, Team Sky moved away from that for 2011, including hiring an Italian doctor known in the hearing as Dr FF.