The tribunal assessing former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman's fitness to practise medicine is in full swing. Centred around the allegation that Freeman ordered testosterone - which is banned in and out of competition - in 2011 'knowing or believing' it could be used to dope a rider, the process so far has been nothing if not dramatic.
With fresh revelations on an almost daily basis, it's easy to lose track of it all, so we've compiled this timeline that charts the affair from its very beginnings to the latest from Manchester.
Where it all began
When investigating the so-called 'jiffy bag' affair, UK Anti-Doping unearthed the fact that a package containing testosterone had been delivered to the Manchester velodrome, home to British Cycling and Team Sky, in June 2011.
In March 2017, in the midst of the UKAD investigation, Steve Peters, former head of medicine, went public with the information to the Sunday Times. Peters said Freeman had told him the package must have been sent in error, and that Freeman had shown him confirmation it had been returned to the supplier.
The GMC gets involved
UKAD closed its investigation in November 2017, frustrated by a lack of medical records. However, it passed evidence on to the GMC, which in theory has enhanced powers to require disclosure of information under the Medical Act. Either side of the new year, allegations emerged that the testosterone had in fact been ordered deliberately.
- October 20, 2017: Richard Freeman resigns from British Cycling
- November 15, 2017: No doping charges for Wiggins, Team Sky and British Cycling over mystery package
- November 15, 2017: General Medical Council to look into UKAD evidence, but not jiffy bag
- November 21, 2017: New details emerge about testosterone patches sent to Team Sky and British Cycling
- March 02, 2018: Questions raised over whether testosterone was ordered at Team Sky and British Cycling HQ
Towards the end of 2018, the GMC finished building its case against Freeman and a hearing was scheduled by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) for February.
The full list of allegations would not be made public until the hearing formally opened, but the GMC produced a summary of its case. At the heart of it was the explosive allegation that Freeman had ordered the testosterone and that his motive for doing so was 'to administer to an athlete to improve their athletic performance'. The GMC further alleged Freeman had lied repeatedly about the delivery in a bid to conceal his motive for placing the order.
Away from the testosterone, the GMC also brought charges relating to Freeman's record keeping, and 'inappropriate' treatment of non-athlete members of staff and management of prescription medication. Freeman would face being struck off the medical register.
- November 11, 2018: Freeman to face medical tribunal over testosterone patch delivery
- November 13, 2018: Team Sky search for new medical chief as testosterone investigation continues
- January 14, 2019: Tribunal to investigate allegations Freeman lied about testosterone delivery
The original hearing
On February 6, 2019, the tribunal gathered in Manchester for the start of the process. However, it failed to get off the ground.
With Freeman absent, his lawyer, Mary O'Rourke QC, immediately requested an adjournment, the reasons for which were heard in private given they related to Freeman's health. After securing an initial 48-hour adjournment, preliminary arguments were discussed in private before the tribunal was scrapped and put out for rescheduling.
- February 6, 2019: Freeman's medical tribunal adjourned with further delays likely
- February 8, 2019: Freeman tribunal delayed until next week
- February 12, 2019: Freeman tribunal risks being delayed until next year
- March 5, 2019: Freeman hearing adjourned after private session
- March 6, 2019: Team Sky remain silent on Freeman tribunal adjournment
The new tribunal
Eight months after the hearing was supposed to get underway, a date for the new tribunal was confirmed. With time to run from October 28 to December 20, almost double the time was allocated compared to the original.
- October 8, 2019: Freeman medical tribunal rescheduled for October 28
On October 28, opening statements were read, summarising the parties' respective cases, but there was more delay as the GMC argued for a significant change to the key allegation.
- October 28, 2019: Freeman to admit to medical tribunal that he lied about testosterone patches
- October 29, 2019: Sutton denies Freeman's claim testosterone was for him
- October 31, 2019: Freeman open to doping charges under updated statute of limitations
- November 4, 2019: Freeman tribunal delayed by a further 24 hours
- November 5, 2019: Freeman tribunal pushed back another day
After the panel agreed to amend the allegation, which replaced the idea of Freeman's motive being to dope an athlete with that of 'knowing or believing' it could happen, the tribunal formally opened. With it, the full list of 22 allegations - only four of which Freeman would contest, all relating to the testosterone - was made public.
The tribunal has been sitting most days since November 7, serving up consistent drama.
- November 7, 2019: Blow for Freeman as GMC secures change to key Testogel allegation
- November 8, 2019: Freeman claims Shane Sutton bullied him to order testosterone
- November 12, 2019: Sutton walks out of Freeman medical tribunal after accused of being 'a serial liar' and 'doper'
- November 12, 2019: Shane Sutton disputes bullying accusations in Freeman tribunal
- November 13, 2019: Sutton will not return after walking out of Freeman hearing
- November 14, 2019: Freeman absent from medical tribunal after adverse reaction to Sutton aggression
- November 14, 2019: Steve Peters offers no answers on testosterone delivery in Freeman tribunal
- November 15, 2019: Freeman Tribunal: Doctor faced constant attrition from Shane Sutton
- November 21, 2019: Testosterone research found on Freeman's laptop, tribunal told
- November 22, 2019: Freeman's counsel seeking documents from Daily Mail
- November 22, 2019: Freeman's lawyer to attempt to have testosterone charges thrown out
- November 24, 2019: Ineos will leave cycling if rules were broken, says Ratcliffe
- November 25, 2019: Freeman tribunal was due to hear evidence from Nicole Cooke before Sutton's exit
As Features Editor, Patrick is responsible for Cyclingnews' long-form and in-depth output. Patrick joined Cyclingnews in 2015 as a staff writer after a work experience stint that included making tea and being sent to the Tour de Langkawi. Prior to that, he studied French and Spanish at university and went on to train as a journalist. Rides his bike to work but more comfortable on a football pitch.
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