Former Cycling Psychiatrist Doubts Testosterone Ordered for Doping

Chris Jaffray 

November 14, 2019

MANCHESTER - A doctor from Team Sky and British Cycling accused of ordering a banned substance for an athlete to boost their performance could have got the substance far more secretly than he did – and might have got it for himself, according to a former colleague.

Dr Richard Freeman admits ordering Testogel to the Manchester Velodrome in May 2011 and telling a series of lies about it to cover his tracks.

But crucially he denies it was for an athlete, and claims cycling coach Shane Sutton bullied him into getting it as he suffered from erectile dysfunction.

Mr Sutton appeared at the Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service (MPTS) in Manchester earlier this week but stormed out after denying ordering the product and being accused of being a liar, a bully and a doper.

Team Psychiatrist

Today the tribunal heard from Professor Steve Peters, a psychiatrist who worked alongside the two men and was there when the product was delivered.

Prof Peters claimed if Dr Freeman had wanted to be secretive about the order there were other ways he could have gone about it.

Dr Freeman's solicitor, Mary O'Rourke QC said it had been ordered to the Velodrome and would be paid for by British Cycling and on their books, asking: "He was a registered practitioner, he would have been able to order it, he could have gone to Boots or the Asda opposite the Velodrome and written a private prescription?"

Prof Peters replied: "Yes."

Ms O'Rourke also asked if Mr Sutton had treatment funded by British Cycling and he again agreed, but questions on the nature of this were heard in private.

Prof Peters was also keen to stress that any athlete with them who cheated would have quickly been spotted.

He said: "If you even got one part of a millionth of external testosterone you would definitely be picked up."

Ms O'Rourke replied: "I am grateful to hear you say that."

New Theory

Incredibly, the professor suggested a possibility neither the General Medical Council nor Dr Freeman's defence team have suggested might lie at the heart of the case – that Dr Freeman had ordered it for himself.

Ms O'Rourke brought up that he had suggested this in his witness statement given before the case.

She said: "You said maybe Dr Freeman took it for himself."

He replied: "If he had prescribed it for Shane, Shane would have told me, Shane would have opened up to me."

She asked again about the assumption the Testogel could have been for her client, and was told by Prof Peters: "We have got two men and one is clearly lying, all I am saying is the assumption makes sense."

It emerged earlier in the proceedings that Dr Freeman got Prof Peters to tell the Sunday Times in 2017 that he ordered the product in error.

Prof Peters told the tribunal how he felt when it emerged he had been lied to, saying Dr Freeman came to his house after confessing.

The professor said: "When he arrived I was distressed. He just did not seem to be aware of what he had done. He just seemed oblivious. He was quite buoyant."

But Ms O'Rourke was keen to stress this confession was that it had been ordered for Mr Sutton and not an athlete.

Prof Peters admitted there were difficulties with Mr Sutton in the workplace but it was often put down to "Shane being Shane".

However, he had no recollection of Dr Freeman saying he had been bullied by him.

The hearing, before Chair Neil Dalton, continues.

Chris Jaffray is a journalist with the Mercury Press agency.

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