Dr Richard Freeman claims he was “bullied” into making a testosterone order for Shane Sutton.
Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Freeman is accused of ordering the banned substance to British Cycling headquarters in 2011, knowing or believing it would be used for an athlete to dope, and then lying to cover up the order.
Dr Freeman is currently facing a medical misconduct hearing over the delivery of 30 Testogel sachets to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, and has claimed the order was for Shane Sutton, a former coach at both British Cycling and Team Sky.
In a witness statement, reported by the BBC, Dr Freeman said: “Shane Sutton specifically request that I prescribed him Testogel.
“I was bullied into prescribing it for him.”
After months of delays, the prosecution against Dr Freeman started on Friday (November 8) at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) misconduct hearing in Manchester.
Simon Jackson QC, lawyer for the General Medical Council, which is bringing the case against Dr Freeman, said that Sutton admits receiving treatment and prescriptions from the doctor but denies receiving Testogel and claims he didn’t discuss this treatment.
Mr Jackson said that Sutton has become “Dr Freeman’s scapegoat to cover up his earlier misconduct.”
Dr Freeman claimed in his statement that the substances was used to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction, but the GMC’s case is that the testosterone was used for “micro-dosing” as a way of improving an athletes performance.
Sutton is expected to produce British Cycling medical records to prove he did not require testosterone and seek the views of an endocrinologist to the effect that Sutton did not have a condition that required treatment with testosterone.
Mr Jackson also said there was a dispute between Dr Freeman and Sutton over the repayment of money used for a long-haul flight Dr Freeman had taken for personal reasons.
The hearing continues.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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