Former British cyclist and Team Sky medical director Richard Freeman has been found guilty of ordering banned testosterone in 2011, knowing or believing it would help pump up an unnamed rider.
The medical court found that Freeman ordered the use of the testing gel knowing that it was to be administered to the athlete to enhance his athletic performance.
He had previously confessed to 18 of the 22 charges, but denied the middle charge, which related to the subject of the disposition.
His hearing will take place on the 17th. Mars continued.
At that time, the court will consider whether Freeman’s ability to practice his profession has deteriorated.
During the trial, which lasted more than two years, Freeman said he was urged to hire former British Cycling and Team Sky performance director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction.
Sutton denied the allegations and said Freeman was lying. The court found that Freeman’s claims were an elaborate lie.
He decided that the motive for Freeman’s actions was to cover up his behavior. Only one allegation was unproven – that he knew testogel was not clinically indicated for Sutton.
The court found that Freeman’s actions were not sufficient to prove his innocence.
The court’s written reasoning reads: In May 2011, Dr. Freeman, a doctor on the elite cycling team and member of the anti-doping task force, ordered a doping drug of choice for the sport. In the end, he was dishonest about what was asked of him, was removed from the velodrome, and was never seen again. The court found that Dr. Freeman had engaged in dishonest conduct since then.
In a statement following the GMC’s decision, Sutton said he was saddened by the whole affair.
I feel sorry for the doctor because he put himself in that situation in the first place, and I remain disappointed that I was used as a scapegoat, he said. This has caused me and my family great pain.
But it also saddens me that this episode has cast a big shadow over the success we’ve had with Team Sky and British Cycling. I want to stress that neither I nor Sir Dave Brailsford (general manager of Team Sky (now Team Ineos) and former performance director of British Cycling) were aware of the order in which the testosterone was taken. But I think it’s important to know who the doctor prescribed it to.
The judgment they feared was theanalysis.
Sports editor Dan Roan
It was the dreaded verdict of many in British cycling and Team Sky.
Dr. Freeman was the top doctor for both organizations during a period of unprecedented success, both on the road and on the track. Over the years he has worked closely with some of the biggest names in British sport. From Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Dave Brailsford to psychologist Dr Steve Peters.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by any of them in this or any other case.
But for the former chief medical officer convicted of ordering a banned drug to help a rider cheat – a year before London 2012 – it’s a devastating blow to the reputation of one of the country’s most successful and well-funded sports, the driving force behind Team GB’s Olympic resurgence.
The uncomfortable questions remain: Who was the driver? Who else knew about this? And Dr. Freeman has a story to tell now? Cycling has tried to shake off this scandal and previous controversies. The national governing body has introduced reforms, codes of conduct and new leadership. Team Sky became Team Ineos, which was a much needed new beginning. But it has become much harder to put the past behind us, and today’s news raises new questions about the medal factory.
After a lengthy unit trial involving cover-ups, damaged laptops, bickering and shoddy medical records, this reputation for excellence is to puke.
And just a few months before the Tokyo Games, the timing couldn’t be worse.
What is the context?
Freeman, who worked simultaneously for British Cycling and Team Sky between 2009 and 2015, retired from British Cycling in October 2017 for health reasons. He’s already left Team Sky.
Freeman’s medical tribunal began in November 2019 after the General Medical Council (GMC) accused him of ordering 30 packs of test gel from the National Cycling Centre in Manchester in May 2011, knowing or believing that the banned drug was intended to enhance an athlete’s performance.
He has admitted 18 of the 22 charges against him, including initially lying in an attempt to conceal the injunction and a misleading investigation of the British Anti-Doping Code (Ukad).
But Freeman denied the other four charges, including helping drug the driver, and said Sutton forced him to order the drugs.
Freeman failed to get the other four charges dismissed, but the presiding judge said all outstanding questions must be answered.
The trial was later postponed several times for medical reasons, and his lawyer Mary O’Rourke said Freeman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was too ill to attend.
It finally resumed in October 2020. In his initial testimony, Freeman said he had used a screwdriver or blunt object to destroy a laptop that may have contained medical data important to the investigation because he feared the information would be hacked.
He told the court that on the night the bag of Testogel was delivered to the National Cycling Centre, he had secretly taken it home and thrown it down the drain.
He then claimed that he was unaware of the effects of testosterone on performance and insisted that the subject of doping had never come up between him and former British Cycling medical director Dr Steve Peters.
His cross-examination of QC Simon Jackson of the GMC lasted seven weeks.
On November 26, the Tribunal was again suspended to resume its work on November 22. January 2021, extending it for a third year. Freeman then requested another break to participate in a mass vaccination program against the Covid-19 virus, but his request was denied.
At a hearing in February, the final proposals were submitted. The ruling was due on March 2, but was postponed until March 12. March postponed after the Practitioners Tribunal Service said more time was needed.
Freeman has been the focus of a number of controversies.
In 2017, the Ukad completed a 14-month investigation into a mysterious medical package dropped off for Sir Bradley Wiggins during the 2011 Dauphine Criterium, without ever clarifying exactly what the package contained.
Freeman insisted it was a legitimate and illegal act and denied any wrongdoing, although he is accused of misusing the anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone.
Wiggins was also granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for triamcinolone just before three major races – the 2011 Tour de France, his 2012 Tour victory and the 2013 Giro d’Italia. However, Freeman – who applied for the TUEs on behalf of Wiggins – said it was still within the rules.
Wiggins, British Cycling and Team Sky (now Team Ineos) have always denied doing anything wrong.
July 2018: Skye Freeman, former British cyclist and team doctor – We never crossed the line.
In February, Ukraine sued Freeman for possession of a banned substance and tampering or attempting to tamper with a component of a doping test.
The allegation of sabotage includes attempts to undermine every aspect of doping control, including testing.
Freeman reportedly denied some of the allegations and requested a hearing.
Freeman risks a four-year sports ban if he is found guilty by the independent National Anti-Doping Commission.
Attention will be focused on Ukad’s investigation once the medical tribunal is completed.
In a statement on Friday, Ukad’s executive director Nicole Sapstead said: Until the charges are dropped, Dr. Freeman is suspended from all sports.
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