Ineos Grenadiers have responded to the guilty verdict handed down to their former doctor, Richard Freeman, that he ordered banned testosterone ‘knowing or believing’ it was to help enhance the performance of a rider.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) on Friday (March 12) found that in 2011 Freeman ordered Testogel to the British Cycling and Team Sky Manchester HQ “knowing or believing it was to be administered to an athlete to improve their athletic performance.” No rider has been identified but Freeman has subsequently been suspended by UK Anti-Doping on two charges.
Dr Freeman worked for Team Sky (now Ineos Genadiers) between 2009 and 2015, and British Cycling from 2009 to 2017 when he stepped down from his role due to ill health. His medical tribunal, originally scheduled for February 2019, started in November 2019 after he was accused by the General Medical Council (GMC) of ordering 30 sachets of Testogel and it has dragged on since.
Ineos on Friday afternoon released a statement saying that it is “very clear” that Freeman “fell short of the ethical standards required of him as a doctor” but said they did not believe there was evidence to support the finding that any athlete used Testogel or any other performance enhancing substances.
“The Team fully supports the work of the GMC and it is very clear from their report that Richard Freeman fell short of the ethical standards required of him as a doctor and acted dishonestly,” the Ineos statement read.
“However the Team does not believe that any athlete ever used or sought to use Testogel or any other performance enhancing substance. No evidence has been provided that this ever happened or that there has been any wrongdoing by any athlete at any point.
“We will continue to give our full support and co-operation to UKAD, as we have done throughout this process, as they continue to investigate his conduct. We will not be making any further comment.”
Freeman had already admitted 18 of the 22 charges brought against him by the tribunal before today’s verdict, including purchasing the banned Testogel, lying to the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD), and keeping haphazard records.
Of the four contested charges relating to the delivery of the banned testosterone to British Cycling and Team Sky Manchester HQ in June 2011, Freeman was cleared of one – that he ordered Testogel when he “knew it was not clinically indicated for the non-athlete member of staff”.
The hearing will resume on March 17 where the tribunal will decide if Freeman’s “fitness to practice is impaired”.