Shane Sutton and Dr Richard Freeman had a “monumental falling out” over the costs of a flight back from Colombia which Freeman took in 2015 following a family bereavement, a medical tribunal has heard. After that incident, Sutton constantly “bullied” Freeman according to Phil Burt, the former British Cycling physiotherapist.
The tribunal also heard potentially explosive allegations on Friday that Sutton signed off on a UK Sport-funded degree course for a team carer with whom he was allegedly having a relationship.
The latest evidence at the tribunal of Freeman, the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor, did not get much closer to establishing why a mystery batch of testosterone patches was delivered to British Cycling’s headquarters in 2011.
Freeman denies ordering the patches in 2011 “knowing or believing it was to be used by an athlete to improve performance”. He claims that Sutton bullied him into making the order, and that the gel was to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction.
Sutton denied both of those claims before storming out of the tribunal in Manchester on Tuesday.
The tribunal heard on Thursday that the pair’s relationship deteriorated following a World Cup event in Cali in 2015. Freeman changed his flights following a bereavement and Sutton – then British Cycling’s technical director and de facto boss – asked him to pay for them.
The tribunal also heard details about a possible “unauthorised” funding of a team carer’s physiotherapy degree. Mary O’Rourke QC, defending Freeman, asked Burt about rumours that Sutton was having a relationship with the woman in question. “I had heard those rumours,” Burt said.
Simon Jackson QC, for the General Medical Council, pointed out that this allegation was investigated as part of the Cycling Independent Review three years ago and “no issues” were identified.
The tribunal is adjourned until Wednesday.