Ex-British Cycling Coach Storms Out of Doctor's Medical Tribunal 

Chris Jaffray 

November 12, 2019

MANCHESTER - Former British Cycling technical director and Team Sky head coach Shane Sutton appeared at a medical tribunal to emphatically deny that he had any knowledge of the ordering of Testogel to the Velodrome in Manchester in 2011 – before storming out and refusing to answer any questions.

Former Team GB and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman is accused of ordering the banned substance for an athlete to improve their performance but instead claims he was bullied into getting it for Mr Sutton for his erectile dysfunction.

Heated Proceedings

During the heated proceedings at the Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service (MPTS) Mr Sutton shouted at Dr Freeman's lawyer about the allegation, saying: "You are saying I can't get a hard-on in the press, my wife wants to come here to dispute that."

Dr Freeman has admitted a series of other charges including getting an employee of Fitness4Sport to lie and say the Testogel was sent in error and also lying to UK Anti-Doping during an interview.

Today with a screen between the two men, which Dr Freeman requested, Mr Sutton denied any knowledge of Testogel.

To begin with Simon Jackson QC, representing the General Medical Council, asked him if he stood by witness statements given in April and July in which he says the first time he had heard of Testogel was when it emerged it was ordered to the property in Manchester.

He said he stood by them.

But representing Dr Freeman, Mary O'Rourke QC suggested given his background this was implausible.

She asked him about his history in the sport but he took objection to this.

Mr Sutton replied: "That's irrelevant to be coming here and spending 2 days waiting in a room."

She asked if he had followed the cases of pro former cyclists Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis, who were found to have used Testogel.

He said he had followed them, but didn't read news articles and when asked if he had read Landis' book on the matter he said: "I do not read. I have only ever read one book in my life, The Rise and Fall of Peter Brock."

Ms O'Rourke then asked him if he had told a GMC lawyer he had read her client's book but he denied he had saying he might have seen the cover around.

Joke or Lie?

She proceeded to suggest it was implausible for him to say he hadn't heard of Testogel when he began working at Team Sky in 2010.

She said: "There are two options, you are having a laugh and a joke with us, the other is you are telling a blatant lie."

Mr Sutton replied: "The only joke in this room is you."

He objected to her calling him a "habitual liar and a serial doper with a doping history" which took place in proceedings before his evidence began.

Ms O'Rourke asked if a member of the press had told him this, but Mr Sutton denied it.

She later asked if he had ever used testosterone and he said it had once been given to him when he had a knee injury.

Ms O'Rourke said she had been contacted by a witness who said it had been in his fridge at his home in the late 1990s and early 00s, and he had been seen taking it.

But Mr Sutton, believing he knew who the anonymous witness was, replied: "That person was convicted of growing dope and jailed for 2 years.

"I saw him in Manchester and asked how his wife was, he said 'she left me' and I said 'she's finally seen sense' and he's had it in for me ever since."

Ms O'Rourke said he had guessed the identity incorrectly.

Press Statement

Mr Sutton's patience eventually ran out and he left the hearing, making a statement to the press outside.

In his statement, he said: "I have spent 2 days there waiting to come up here.

"I have come here I have told the truth I have answered your questions.

"You have used gutter tactics in the press.

"I want to look the panel in the eye and I want to tell you I am not lying.

"She has accused me of all these crimes and I am going to leave," he said.

"I was asked to come by the GMC to come and answer, I did not order the gels.

"I am going to go back to my home in Spain and enjoy my retirement.

"I can sleep knowing I did not order the package.

"Richard is a good bloke, I have no argument with him."

He went on to make allegations about Dr Freeman's performance at work while he went through personal problems, but Mr Sutton said: "I covered his back."

He also swore on his daughter's life that he did not order the packages, and offered to take a lie detector test.

The hearing to determine Dr Freeman's fitness to practise is due to continue on Thursday.

Chris Jaffray is a journalist with the Mercury Press agency.

Editor's Note, 13th November 2019: The MPTS said today that Mr Sutton will not be returning to continue his evidence on Thursday.

Editor's Note, 14th November 2019: There's an update on the hearing here.

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