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Dr Richard Freeman's 'vulnerability' to Shane Sutton's bullying could have led to him ordering Testogel says psychiatrist

Psychiatrist highlights former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor’s bipolar disorder

A psychiatrist who examined Dr Richard Freeman before his medical tribunal has said that the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor was vulnerable to the bullying of Shane Sutton due to his bipolar disorder and that this may have been how he came to order the banned substance Testogel.

Freeman has admitted 18 of the 22 charges brought against him by the General Medical Council, including ordering Testogel patches. However, he denies that he did so “knowing or believing” that they were intended for use by an athlete.

Earlier this week, he told the tribunal that he did not know testosterone was a performance enhancing substance when he ordered it.

Freeman claims that he ordered the patches for former British Cycling and Team Sky coach Shane Sutton to treat erectile dysfunction – something Sutton strenuously denies.

Sky Sports reports that on Friday the tribunal heard evidence from Dr Max Henderson, who examined him last year.

Henderson said he believed Freeman was "terrified" of Sutton and described their relationship as one of "fear and subjugation".

"The bullying could have lowered the threshold for him to order Testogel," he said.

"I'm not sure that bullying was the reason for ordering the Testogel. It's my opinion that he was being bullied by Sutton but there were a range of factors that made him more vulnerable.

"I don't think there was a tipping point as such. The point about the relationship he had with Mr Sutton, as I understand it, is that it moved him close to the point that he may have made a decision that he wouldn't have again made."

The hearing continues.

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SKH | 3 years ago
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A few things are missed out in this article, I assume because missed out from Sky Sports and other media.

1. Dr Henderson said Dr Freeman had told him about a "number of experiences" of bullying at the hands of Mr Sutton before the tribunal started

2. Professor Don Grubin, suggested Dr Freeman had placed the order in a "hyper manic" state due to his bipolar disorder – describing it as a "rash and impetuous" decision. But Dr Henderson disagreed and said Dr Freeman had "ruminated" on whether to place the order and it had been an "extremely difficult" period of his life.

3. Mary O'Rourke, asked Dr Henderson whether he may have been under "pressure" to dope an athlete. "He was very clear," said Dr Henderson. "He did not have to dope an athlete, he didn't feel under pressure to dope an athlete and he said he wouldn't ever dope an athlete."

rct | 3 years ago

I'm sure any bullying was unintentional.

LWaB | 3 years ago
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Isn't there is a 10 year statute of limitations on UCI doping enforcement? How close is Dr Freeman and Team Sky to reaching that date?

Gkam84 replied to LWaB | 3 years ago
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Statute of limitations applies to testing. They aren't testing anything. As shown by the Lance Armstrong case, there is no limit on how long things can be enforced after the fact, the violations were about 7 years past the limitations, but because no samples needed to be tested, then the statute didn't apply.

I'm sure somewhere that the medical council said they weren't looking to point fingers at individual riders and that they were only looking to get to the bottom of the Freeman case. However, if a rider appears and there is evidence against them, UKAD might look at it.

UKAD also said that the statute would not prevent them from starting an investigation. I'm sure WADA has said in the past that the statute should not prevent investigations into athletes either. Evidence can be gathered without the need for testing a sample.

Secret_squirrel replied to LWaB | 3 years ago

What possible content could come out of this that would lead to a doping charge?  Sutton wasn't racing.   Unless Freeman's story changes there is nothing to go on.

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