Dr Richard Freeman tribunal: Ex-GB Cycling medic ‘crossed the line’

Dr Richard Freeman and defence team

Former British Cycling and Team Sky chief doctor Richard Freeman “crossed the line and went way beyond it” when ordering a banned drug for an unnamed rider, a medical tribunal has been told.

Almost two years after it began, the case resumed on Friday with the final submission of the General Medical Council (GMC).

Dr Freeman denies having testosterone delivered to the national velodrome in 2011 in order to help an athlete to dope.

Having had a request for an adjournment rejected, he did not attend the virtual hearing as he was administering Covid vaccinations at a Lancashire clinic.

Summing up the GMC’s case, Richard Jackson QC accused the medic of “a careful campaign of self-preservation”.

Jackson painted a picture of Dr Freeman as a “risk-taker”, striving to hold on to his position at Team Sky – now Team Ineos – after an unsuccessful first year led them to hire experienced cycling doctors.

“The GMC submit that Dr Freeman was knowingly prepared to put others at risk with his prescribing practises,” he said. “Dr Freeman didn’t just push up to the line. Instead, he crossed the line and went way beyond it.”

Freeman has been accused by the GMC of ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to the National Velodrome in 2011 “knowing or believing” the banned drug was intended to boost an athlete’s performance.

He has admitted 18 of 22 charges against him, including initially lying to try to cover up the order, and misleading a UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) investigation.

But Dr Freeman denies the remaining four charges, including the central accusation he helped to dope a rider, saying he was bullied into ordering the drug by former British Cycling and Team Sky performance director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction.

Sutton has denied those claims, claiming Freeman is lying.

“The GMC observe that all the lies which have been told just make no logical sense given the nature of what Dr Freeman’s claimed defence is… they all point to the concealment of a plan that the Testogel would be used to dope a rider within the means of the charge,” said Jackson.

“There is a truism in life that it’s not the lie that gets you, it’s the cover-up, and what a cover-up it’s been, drawing in other people who became casualties in their own way of Dr Freeman’s careful campaign of self-preservation.

“This certainly continued up to 2019 and we submit into 2020 and the evidence he’s given in these proceedings.”

The case continues, with a decision expected in March.

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