Shane Sutton has again denied that testosterone sent to the National Cycling Centre in 2011 was intended to treat his erectile dysfunction. He says that Dr Richard Freeman, who is facing a General Medical Council (GMC) tribunal over the matter, “has got himself into something deep here and seen me as a way out.”
The GMC has laid 22 charges against Freeman, the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor. He has accepted 18 – including ordering the banned substance Testogel in 2011 – but denies “knowing or believing it was to be used by an athlete to improve performance.”
Freeman has said that he was bullied into ordering the drug by former British Cycling and Team Sky performance director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction.
Appearing at the tribunal last November, Sutton vehemently denied this and then stormed out, saying, “I don’t need to be dragged into this shit fight.”
"I'm still surprised by his testimony as we saw each other as friends," Sutton told the Telegraph this week. "In 2017, he even visited my house to check that my mum was okay and now he comes out with all these lies."
Freeman has admitted lying to UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) during its investigation into the delivery of Testogel and this week admitted abusing his position by persuading an employee of medical supplier Fit 4 Sport to cover his tracks.
Asked for confirmation the drugs had been returned to Fit 4 Sport by his then boss, Team Sky and British Cycling's former medical director, Dr Steve Peters, the BBC reports that Freeman “compromised” Trish Meats, a manager at the firm, by getting her to send an email saying the drug had been sent in error and subsequently returned.
Freeman told the hearing he had in fact taken the Testogel home, "cut open the sachets and washed them down the kitchen sink."
He said his lying, “had become a train… it was running and I couldn’t stop it".
Meats said she was under the impression the drugs had been returned without her knowledge and that she thought Freeman’s request was due to, "some internal thing at British Cycling. I had no idea what [the Testogel] was, and we'd never sold it before."
Commenting on the case, Sutton said: "He has got himself into something deep here and seen me as a way out. Sadly for him, people don't believe him any more because his lies have been proven actually to be lies. The story changes every time he is questioned.
"I feel sad for him because deep down he's a great guy and a good doc. He's been mixed up in something here and I'm guessing the truth can't come out for one reason or another."
Upon hearing that the Testogel had been delivered to the Manchester velodrome, Freeman said Sutton had "exploded." He said Sutton had told him: “Don't drag me into it or you'll be sorry – and I don't just mean losing your job.”
Earlier in the week, Freeman told the tribunal that he had destroyed a laptop after watching a TV programme showing how hackers could hack computers remotely to extract information.
The laptop was a replacement for one he claimed had been stolen from him while on holiday in Greece in 2014, and which contained medical records relating to British Cycling and Team Sky riders.
In 2017, a UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at both organisations was closed due to insufficient evidence – including the records on that first laptop – being available.
The tribunal was adjourned on Thursday and is due to restart next week.