Dr Richard Freeman to face renewed suggestions that he 'topped up' a rider with testosterone

Tom Cary
·2 min read
Dr Richard Freeman (second left) where he posed for pictures with QC, Mary O’Rourke (left) and his defence team after appearing at a hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) in Manchester - PA
Dr Richard Freeman (second left) where he posed for pictures with QC, Mary O’Rourke (left) and his defence team after appearing at a hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) in Manchester - PA

Dr Richard Freeman will face renewed suggestions on Tuesday that he “topped up” a rider with testosterone, his barrister told a medical tribunal on Monday. The former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor can also expect to be cross-examined regarding medical data relating to a “Tour de France winner”, Mary O’Rourke warned.

Freeman’s long running fitness-to-practise tribunal, which first started in February of last year, resumed in Manchester on Monday but did not make much progress as Freeman struggled to gain access to an Apple laptop. 

Freeman, who is accused of ordering testosterone to the national velodrome in 2011 “knowing or believing it was intended for a rider”, accompanied his legal team and a British Cycling lawyer to a downstairs room at the MPTS tribunal building in Manchester with the computer in question. But they failed to switch it on, apparently due to a faulty power lead. 

Although a working lead was later found, O’Rourke said she would prefer it if her client could have time to study the contents of the computer and requested that the hearing be adjourned until this morning, adding that she was becoming “concerned” about Freeman’s mental health.

“There was an incident downstairs where he tried to take that laptop, put it in his own bag and walk away with it,” O’Rourke told the tribunal. “Mr Eastwood [Freeman’s solicitor] had to intervene. I am worried about him.”

Freeman - who has had one of his laptops stolen, admitted to destroying another, and said he was unable to access the hard drive of a third - denied he had tried to take this latest laptop with him. “I didn’t snatch the bag,” he said. “I put it in the travelling case it came in because I was frustrated. I was going to take it away and charge it myself.”

Freeman denies he has ever doped a rider. He claims he ordered the testosterone in 2011 to treat former Team Sky and British Cycling coach Shane Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton denies he has ever suffered from that condition.

Freeman became exasperated on Monday when it was suggested that the hearing be adjourned for the day, adding that he was happy to continue. But his lawyer intervened. “I am convinced that it is in Dr Freeman’s best interest not to answer any questions this afternoon because of what I witnessed.”

The laptop allegedly contains riders’ confidential medical records. O’Rourke told her client he could expect to be cross-examined by the General Medical Council, which has brought the case, about one rider whose testosterone levels jumped “from 3.4 to 7.2” and about a “Tour de France winner”.