Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman will be facing serious questions when he faces the Medical Practitioners Tribunal next month. The pre-hearing disclosure by the tribunal listed for scrutiny numerous allegations of 'dishonesty' attributed to Dr Freeman.
Dr Freeman was working for both Team Sky and British Cycling at the National Cycling Centre in 2011 when a box from supplier Fit4Sport containing 30 sachets of Testogel - a topical testosterone drug - arrived.
The delivery of the banned substance came to light in 2017 after UKAD began its investigation into the programme, and at the time Dr Steve Peters, the former head of medicine at British Cycling, told the Sunday Times that he was told delivery was in error. "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 in 2017.
"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 explanation will come under intense scrutiny starting on February 6, 2019, when the tribunal begins its hearing. It is understood that Dr Freeman denies the allegations.
The allegations listed for investigation in the pre-hearing disclosure included:
- That on 18 May 2011, Dr Freeman "made untrue statements", when he denied making the order and advised that it had been made in error.
- That Dr Freeman contacted Fit4Sport requesting written confirmation that the order had been sent in error and returned "knowing that this had not taken place".
- That Dr Freeman "showed the email to others knowing that its content was untrue".
- That during an interview with UKAD on 17 February 2017, Dr Freeman "made untrue statements in that he stated that Testogel had been ordered for a non-athlete member of staff and had been returned to Fit4Sport Limited."
- That his motive for placing the order "was to obtain Testogel to administer to an athlete to improve their athletic performance".
- That Dr Freeman's "untrue statements and communications with Fit4Sport Limited, were to conceal his motive for placing the order".
The tribunal will also look further into the medical records practices of Dr Freeman and whether he "inappropriately provided medical treatment that did not constitute first aid to non–athlete members of staff", that he "failed to maintain an adequate record management system", and that he failed to "ensure that the records on a laptop, which was stolen from him on the evening of 27 / 28 August 2014, could be retrieved".
According to Dr Freeman, the stolen laptop contained the records relating to the 'jiffy bag' delivery of medical supplies to Team Sky at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine - the subject of a UKAD investigation and parliamentary inquiry.
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