Today's session of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing into Dr Richard Freeman’s fitness to practise was held in private – to protect blood test data relating to riders from Team Sky and the Great Britain Cycling Team from being released into the public domain.
The Guardian reports that the tribunal, which began in February 2019, has now been adjourned until next Thursday. The hearing is scheduled to run until 26 November, but the newspaper says that it may not now conclude until Easter next year.
That is because Mary O’Rourke, the Queen’s Counsel defending Freeman, who has admitted all but four of the 22 charges brought against him by the General Medical Council, has another case scheduled in the interim.
Freeman has admitted ordering Testogel testosterone patches to be delivered to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester in 2011, but denies that he did so “knowing or believing it was to be used by an athlete to improve performance.”
Instead, he claims he was bullied into ordering them by former British Cycling and Team Sky coach Shane Sutton, alleging that he was suffering from an erectile dysfunction – something the Australian vehemently denies.
The request to hold today’s session in private was reportedly made at the request of both British Cycling and Team Sky, and the week’s adjournment of the case is said to be to allow a protocol to be drawn up to protect the anonymity of individual riders.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.