Former British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman given four-year doping ban

Freeman chose not to defend himself before the anti-doping panel

Richard Freeman
(Image credit: Getty)

Richard Freeman, the former British Cycling doctor, has received a four-year doping ban for his role in ordering banned substances to the governing body’s HQ in 2011. 

Freeman, who worked closely with British Cycling and Team Sky, helping them to global success, has been at the centre of a long-running hearing, which saw him struck off the medical register in 2021. 

According to UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), Freeman “violated” anti-doping rules on three counts; firstly, by “taking possession of an order of 30 sachets of Testogel” - a banned testosterone substance. He was then deemed to have lied to UKAD in respect of that order, and said to have “tamper[ed]” with an anti-doping investigation.

Freeman’s ban has been backdated to the start of his suspension in December 2020. He chose not to appear before the anti-doping panel to defend his case, The Times reported.

Jane Rumble, UKAD’s chief executive, said: “This case sends a strong message to all athlete support personnel that the rules apply equally to them, just as they do to athletes, and that they have a clear responsibility to uphold the values of integrity in sport.” 

In 2021, Freeman was found guilty of ordering banned testosterone "knowing or believing" it would be administered to an unnamed rider for performance enhancement. Of the 22 charged brought against him by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, he denied four, relating to the delivery of the substance to British Cycling and Team Sky's Manchester Velodrome HQ in June 2011. 

He also claimed the testosterone was ordered at the request of former Team Sky coach Shane Sutton to treat erectile dysfunction. Sutton refuted the claim. 

The investigation was paused when Freeman appealed the decision to strike him off the medical register in 2021. The High Court rejected this appeal at the start of 2023, and the investigation continued, coming to a close on Tuesday. 

In a statement shared after Freeman's doping sanction, British Cycling chair Frank Slevin said: “We note today's verdict from the National Anti-Doping Panel and thank them for the time and consideration put into reaching their decision.

“We have stated previously that Richard Freeman’s conduct during his employment by British Cycling bore no resemblance to the high ethical and professional standards which we, our members and our partners rightly expect.”

“In the years since Freeman was suspended from his employment by British Cycling, we have made great progress in strengthening our provision of medical services to riders competing for the Great Britain Cycling Team. Being granted Care Quality Commission status in October 2020 – making us one of the first professional sport medical facilities to achieve the status – is testament to the progress we have made.”

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.