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Team Sky and British Cycling facing new questions over testosterone patches

Reports that banned substance was ordered and not in fact delivered in error

A General Medical Council (GMC) investigation into Dr Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, has obtained evidence suggesting that testosterone patches were ordered from the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, the headquarters of British Cycling and Team Sky. Using testosterone is banned at all times under the world anti-doping code and a request was subsequently made to the supplier asking them to send an email saying the package had been sent in error.

Oldham-based Fit 4 Sport Ltd sent testosterone patches to the National Cycling Centre in 2011 and Dr Steve Peters – who was head of medical at British Cycling and Team Sky at the time – questioned Freeman about the delivery as he was the person responsible for ordering medical supplies.

Freeman said the supplier had sent the package by mistake and it was subsequently returned. He then requested written confirmation from the company that the package was sent in error and showed the email to Peters.

However, we reported in November that Fit 4 Sport did not respond when UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) requested written proof that they were sent in error and British Cycling subsequently stated that it would be terminating its relationship with the firm.

The governing body’s chief executive, Julie Harrington, explained: “As part of our own internal investigation we invited Dr Freeman and our national medical supplier, Fit 4 Sport, to contribute and we were disappointed we didn't get any co-operation. We will be reviewing our supply partner.”

Both Ukad and the General Medical Council (GMC) are still looking into the delivery of the testosterone patches as part of ongoing investigations and Mail Sport reports that the GMC may have obtained proof that they were ordered and not in fact delivered in error.

Team Sky said they “won't comment on an ongoing GMC investigation.”

British Cycling said: “The General Medical Council are investigating matters referred to them by both UK Anti-Doping and British Cycling. We continue to support these investigations and have responded to requests for information. While the GMC is looking into these concerns it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”

Ukad declined to comment, while a spokeswoman for the GMC said: “I am not able to comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Freeman resigned from British Cycling in October 2017 due to ill health.

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34 comments

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fuzzywuzzy | 5 years ago
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At this stage Brailsford needs to go, even if this is just a case of pushing boundaries (with unethical TUE use) and poor record-keeping it happened on his watch and he needs to take responsibility.

If this were the French governing body, a French team and a French TdF winner we were talking about we'd all be up in arms demanding accountability (at the very least)

Sure this may have started as a media witch hunt and somethings have certainly be blown up out of all proportion but there is enough mud sticking that a stain has been left on British Cycling and Team Sky, the only way to address it is to stop with the "we were working within the rules" crap and own up to taking things too far and failing in basic team management (poor record keeping, lack of oversight) and those involved in those decisions/poor management need to go.

I can't actually see Team Sky/Disney/Comcast lasting beyond this season but if they continue using the language and excuses they have been they'll have zero credibility in the peloton and cycling as a whole will continue to be tarnished as a result

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maviczap | 5 years ago
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Well your case fell apart when you used the word MIGHT, that sums up all the evidence in this csse, lots of mights, coulds & maybe"s 

I can't see Freeman saying anything to incriminate himself, he could just say yes I ordered the patches, but ordering the patches isn't illegal, using would have been, and there isnti any proof that they were.

Won't be going to a criminal court, and even if it did the CPS wouldn't charge on mights, coulds and maybe evidence.

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TerreyHill replied to maviczap | 5 years ago
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maviczap wrote:

Well your case fell apart when you used the word MIGHT, that sums up all the evidence in this csse, lots of mights, coulds & maybe"s 

I can't see Freeman saying anything to incriminate himself, he could just say yes I ordered the patches, but ordering the patches isn't illegal, using would have been, and there isnti any proof that they were.

Won't be going to a criminal court, and even if it did the CPS wouldn't charge on mights, coulds and maybe evidence.

I have no idea what the evidence is in this case, and I don't particularly care.

I was merely giving my view on what I perceived to be a misunderstanding about the value of circumstantial evidence, based on my 25 years experience of criminal trial work (which of course you're welcome to take or leave).

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Feckthehelmet | 5 years ago
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You brit cyclists have nothing to worry about. It'll be a whitewashed sanitised Parliamentary Report on Monday. (What else?)

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
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circumstantial evidence is exactly that and without a failed drugs test is even more meaningless.

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TerreyHill replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

circumstantial evidence is exactly that and without a failed drugs test is even more meaningless.

Circumstantial evidence is often the strongest of evidence, as you’ll hear a Crown Court judge directing a jury any day of the week.

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maviczap replied to TerreyHill | 5 years ago
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TerreyHill wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

circumstantial evidence is exactly that and without a failed drugs test is even more meaningless.

Circumstantial evidence is often the strongest of evidence, as you’ll hear a Crown Court judge directing a jury any day of the week.

Not on its own it's not, other evidence to back up even if not directly associated is needed to give the circumstantial evidence the balance of probability that it is true.

There have been no failed tests invovling testosterone and Sky or BC riders, so you cannot say that they are using these patches, all you COULD surmise is that someone ordered these patches. To purchase testosterone patches is not illegal, so no actus rea ( guilty act) and no one admitting to using them. knowingly usings them, knowing it's illegal or mens rea (guilty knowledge). You have neither

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exilegareth replied to maviczap | 5 years ago
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maviczap wrote:
TerreyHill wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

circumstantial evidence is exactly that and without a failed drugs test is even more meaningless.

Circumstantial evidence is often the strongest of evidence, as you’ll hear a Crown Court judge directing a jury any day of the week.

Not on its own it's not, other evidence to back up even if not directly associated is needed to give the circumstantial evidence the balance of probability that it is true.

There have been no failed tests invovling testosterone and Sky or BC riders, so you cannot say that they are using these patches, all you COULD surmise is that someone ordered these patches. To purchase testosterone patches is not illegal, so no actus rea ( guilty act) and no one admitting to using them. knowingly usings them, knowing it's illegal or mens rea (guilty knowledge). You have neither

I think the original post about ciurcumstantial evidence was ironic.

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TerreyHill replied to maviczap | 5 years ago
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T

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
1 like

Oh ffs are those investigating so feckin hopeless as to not be able to ask the right questions to get the answers.
Also if you can only order legit products from your pre formatted list of stuff on your screen - assuming you aren't ordering ad-hoc over the phone (for which there'd be a record of a call) then how can you order something that isn't on the list of stuff that you can order?

Even then, is ordering something that is not allowed to be used for competition sport breaking the rules?
If so, how?
Are people going to suggest that it's a tip of the iceberg thing, okay well there would be many more orders wouldn't there and to order all these other below the water line products/orders are simoly not there so that dismisses that notion.
So what wrong doing does it indicate or lead/point to exactly?

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TerreyHill replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
1 like
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Oh ffs are those investigating so feckin hopeless as to not be able to ask the right questions to get the answers. Also if you can only order legit products from your pre formatted list of stuff on your screen - assuming you aren't ordering ad-hoc over the phone (for which there'd be a record of a call) then how can you order something that isn't on the list of stuff that you can order? Even then, is ordering something that is not allowed to be used for competition sport breaking the rules? If so, how? Are people going to suggest that it's a tip of the iceberg thing, okay well there would be many more orders wouldn't there and to order all these other below the water line products/orders are simoly not there so that dismisses that notion. So what wrong doing does it indicate or lead/point to exactly?

I imagine the issue here is the suggestion Freeman tried to cover up his order by asking the company to falsely confirm his order had been sent in error.

Prosecutors/investigators are always looking for circumstances that point towards 'consciousness of guilt' to support the truth of an allegation. 

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Must be Mad | 6 years ago
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If the GMC were able to obtain the records for the orignal order - the big question for me - can they find proof for other orders for banned substances? The patches in this order have been accounted for, and were not used - but is this a one time thing, or is there more?

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Feckthehelmet | 6 years ago
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Team Sky British Cycling success? An Irishman did the triple 31 years ago. Without the Death Star, The Empire or the absent minded Doctor.

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Welsh boy replied to Feckthehelmet | 6 years ago
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Feckthehelmet wrote:

Team Sky British Cycling success? An Irishman did the triple 31 years ago. Without the Death Star, The Empire or the absent minded Doctor.

The Irish rider who admitted using epo at the end of his career? I know which I would prefer if my only motivation was going fast, leave the bus and give me the  epo!

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Kadenz replied to Welsh boy | 6 years ago
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Welsh boy]</p>

<p>[quote=Feckthehelmet

wrote:

Team Sky British Cycling success? An Irishman did the triple 31 years ago. Without the Death Star, The Empire or the absent minded Doctor.

He did do without those things but not, I’ve heard, without EPO.

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Feckthehelmet replied to Kadenz | 5 years ago
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Kadenz]<p>[quote=Welsh boy wrote:
Feckthehelmet wrote:

Team Sky British Cycling success? An Irishman did the triple 31 years ago. Without the Death Star, The Empire or the absent minded Doctor.

He did do without those things but not, I’ve heard, without EPO.

Heard? Supposition, hearsay. At least he wasn't a cheating English bastard

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Feckthehelmet replied to Welsh boy | 5 years ago
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Welsh boy wrote:
Feckthehelmet wrote:

Team Sky British Cycling success? An Irishman did the triple 31 years ago. Without the Death Star, The Empire or the absent minded Doctor.

The Irish rider who admitted using epo at the end of his career? I know which I would prefer if my only motivation was going fast, leave the bus and give me the  epo!

Bullocks. He was a world champion twice grand tour winner when your father was copulation with sheep. Baaaaah!

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Feckthehelmet | 6 years ago
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Team Sky, British Cycling,US Postal. What's the difference?

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Welsh boy replied to Feckthehelmet | 6 years ago
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Feckthehelmet wrote:

Team Sky, British Cycling,US Postal. What's the difference?

The difference is that we were shocked by Us Postal and disappointed by Sky but apart from that there doesn’t seem to be any difference. The law of averages says that this isn’t limited to just Sky though, how unlikely is it that they are the only team doing it and just happens that they were caught 

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n_g replied to Feckthehelmet | 6 years ago
2 likes
Feckthehelmet wrote:

Team Sky, British Cycling,US Postal. What's the difference?

One difference is that Lance was clever enough that he never got caught by a doping test. Or if he did, he was competent enough to have it swept under the rug.

In contrast, Froome gets caught and then makes up ridiculous excuses.

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fenix replied to Feckthehelmet | 6 years ago
3 likes
Feckthehelmet wrote:

Team Sky, British Cycling,US Postal. What's the difference?

How many USPS riders busted for doping ?
Lots.

There you go.

A couple of plasters that weren't used isn't the same as a well documented organised doping program.

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Feckthehelmet replied to fenix | 5 years ago
0 likes
fenix wrote:
Feckthehelmet wrote:

Team Sky, British Cycling,US Postal. What's the difference?

How many USPS riders busted for doping ?
Lots.

There you go.

A couple of plasters that weren't used isn't the same as a well documented organised doping program.

The English to quote Shakespeare have that "glib and oily art of speaking " in other words duplicitous treacherous cheating twats

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dafyddp | 6 years ago
1 like

Gosh! Out of the hundreds of drugs Fit4Sport presumably had available, who'd have though the one they accidentally posts to BC would be Testosterone.  'Unbelievable'

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Welsh boy | 6 years ago
3 likes

It just goes from bad to worse for Sky and all under the careful and controlling watch of Brailsford. If he is the control freak he is supposed to be then he has to shoulder the blame.

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theloststarfighter replied to Welsh boy | 6 years ago
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Welsh boy wrote:

It just goes from bad to worse for Sky and all under the careful and controlling watch of Brailsford. If he is the control freak he is supposed to be then he has to shoulder the blame.

 

Brailsford ordered it for himself under the mistaken belief it would make his hair regrow to cover his shoulders and what blame they may or may not be carrying.....

In a cynical world of professional sport, media and politics I feel for those who have ridden for Sky and those that still do and have to live with their reputations being questioned. Brailsford has helped achieve some great results, I trust he doesn't have to wrestle with his conscience over the manner in which they were won.

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PatrickD replied to theloststarfighter | 6 years ago
4 likes
theloststarfighter wrote:
Welsh boy wrote:

It just goes from bad to worse for Sky and all under the careful and controlling watch of Brailsford. If he is the control freak he is supposed to be then he has to shoulder the blame.

 

Brailsford ordered it for himself under the mistaken belief it would make his hair regrow to cover his shoulders and what blame they may or may not be carrying.....

In a cynical world of professional sport, media and politics I feel for those who have ridden for Sky and those that still do and have to live with their reputations being questioned. Brailsford has helped achieve some great results, I trust he doesn't have to wrestle with his conscience over the manner in which they were won.

It's be a heck of a product if it could make hair grow on Teflon.

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RobD | 6 years ago
5 likes

How long would testosterone be detectable in a person's system after use?

Also, if Testosterone is banned in sport under any circumstances (does it apply in the same way to other sports?) why would a company such as fit4sport send this to any sporting organisation, whether they requested it or not? 

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The_Vermonter replied to RobD | 6 years ago
0 likes
RobD wrote:

How long would testosterone be detectable in a person's system after use?

Also, if Testosterone is banned in sport under any circumstances (does it apply in the same way to other sports?) why would a company such as fit4sport send this to any sporting organisation, whether they requested it or not? 

 

The half-life is about 4.5 days. As for your other point, I'm not sure of their mission. 

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salokin | 6 years ago
1 like

Boring

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alansmurphy | 6 years ago
2 likes

Interesting that the people under "investigation" are Team Sky and not British Cycling...

How much mud can not stick before people stop looking for mud?

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