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Freeman admits to third loss of data at tribunal

Richard Freeman, former Team Sky doctor
Richard Freeman, former Team Sky doctor (Image credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

On what was the sixth day of his resumed medical tribunal in Manchester on Wednesday, former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman admitted to what was a third loss of data with regard to record-keeping, following on from previously saying that he had a laptop stolen in Greece in 2014 and his revelation last week that he destroyed another laptop with a screwdriver to stop any data getting into the wrong hands.

According to the Guardian on Wednesday, counsel for the General Medical Council (GMC), Simon Jackson QC, read out an email that Freeman had sent to governing body the UCI after Team Sky riders' data from the 2011 Tour de France and Giro d'Italia had been requested by the UCI.

"I lost my hard drive and much data with regards to monitoring of bloods of riders at the giro and tdf [Tour de France]. All are normal and will forward once fresh hard copies have come from the hospital," Freeman wrote in the email, Jackson said.

"This seems to be an unfortunate third occasion when you’ve either lost or broken a hard drive. So what happened?" Jackson asked Freeman, according to the Guardian.

"I can't remember this email, but having read it now, I believe it was in reference to access. I didn't lose a hard drive in 2011," Freeman responded.

"If you'd lost access, surely you would have said I am unable to access data," Jackson said. "You wouldn't say I've lost it, or am I being pedantic?"

"I don't think you are being pedantic," said Freeman.

The doctor also admitted on Wednesday that he began working in cycling without much knowledge of past doping cases in the sport.

"Someone said: 'For God's sake, what are you getting involved in cycling for?' I said: 'It's a challenge and it's been offered.' I hadn't realised how many landmines were out there," Freeman said.

He faces being struck off the medical register following the conclusion of tribunal, in which he's up against the GMC, contesting four of 22 allegations, having accepted the other 18.

Freeman has admitted ordering testosterone gels to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester in 2011, and later destroying them, but refutes the central charge that he placed the order "knowing or believing" the banned substance was intended to be administered to an athlete.

He also denied on Wednesday that he had become a "poacher turned gamekeeper" at Team Sky once he learned more about cycling's past doping malpractices.

"I'd like to think I'm more the gamekeeper of Team Sky," Freeman said, according to the Guardian. "Yes, I'd want to know more about testing and EPO. It was a sharp, steep learning curve at Team Sky. That was as a gamekeeper. I can't comment as a poacher because I never considered myself a poacher."