Questions raised over whether testosterone was ordered at Team Sky and British Cycling HQ

A report in the Daily Mail suggests that the banned substance testosterone may have been ordered to British Cycling and Team Sky offices in Manchester in 2011.

Matt Lawton from the Mail has reported that the General Medical Council's ongoing investigation into former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman has revealed evidence that testosterone patches were ordered and that a request was then made to the medical supplier asking for an email to be sent to Freeman saying the package had been sent in error. The damning news comes almost a year after British Cycling claimed that the substance was only sent to them in error by their medical supplier.

There is currently no evidence that the drug, banned under the WADA code, was supplied to or used by riders at British Cycling or Team Sky.

On Friday, a spokesperson for Team Sky told Cyclingnews: "Whilst it's not appropriate for us to comment on an ongoing General Medical Council investigation, we are continuing to do whatever we can to support and assist with this process."

The GMC's investigation into Freeman was launched on the back of UK Anti-Doping's now-closed 2017 investigation into Team Sky and British Cycling. UKAD started their investigation after a package was couriered to Team Sky at the Dauphine in 2011. The contents of the package, which are still unknown, were used to treat star rider Bradley Wiggins. Team Sky claimed that the package contained a legal decongestant but were never able to provide evidence to back this up. UKAD were unable to uncover the contents of package, while British Cycling and Team Sky were criticized for their inability to keep sufficient medical records.

News of the testosterone patches first surfaced in the spring of 2017, when the Sunday Times learned that UKAD investigators had found evidence that Freeman had taken delivery of the substance at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. The centre is used as a base for British Cycling and, at the time, Team Sky. 

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Last March the former head of medicine at British Cycling, Dr Steve Peters, told the Sunday Times that the patches had been sent in error, while Freeman gave evidence to UKAD that claimed the patches were not administered to athletes. Freeman resigned from his position last October, citing ill health.

"I was with a colleague when the order arrived and it was immediately brought to our attention. Dr Freeman, who was responsible for ordering medical supplies, explained that the order had never been placed and so must have been sent in error," Peters told the Sunday Times.

"He contacted the supplier by phone the same day and they confirmed this. I asked Dr Freeman to repack and return it to the supplier, and to make sure they provided written confirmation that it was sent in error and had been received. That confirmation arrived and was shown to me by Dr Freeman. I was satisfied that this was simply an administrative error and it wasn't necessary to escalate it further, and so Dave Brailsford was not made aware."

A copy of the confirmation document has never been made public.

The quantity of banned testosterone patches received is still unknown, but the Sunday Times reported that UKAD has established that 60 to 70 40mg vials of triamcinolone were delivered to the Manchester velodrome in 2011, though no medical records have been produced to justify such a quantity.

The GMC are looking into Freeman's conduct and the circumstances in which triamcinolone was used by him.

Dave Brailsford admitted last year that he was received an injection of the substance from Freeman because of a knee injury and Bradley Wiggins was treated with the substance as part of a TUE regime ahead of three Grand Tour challenges between 2011 and 2013.

Team Sky told the Mail that they "won't comment on an ongoing GMC investigation". Cyclingnews has attempted to contact Brailsford but he had not responded at the time of publication.

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