A former British Cycling and Team Sky chief medic has said for the first time that he destroyed a package of testosterone which he ordered to the national velodrome in 2011.
Dr Richard Freeman told a tribunal of his “regret” at his actions in the hours after the banned substance was delivered to the sport’s headquarters.
“I took it home that night. I decided to destroy it that evening” he said, under cross-examination.
The medic admitted he “had no thought of an audit trail”, and said he could not explain why he had never revealed this before.
Dr Freeman also claimed he did not know key parts of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules when he ordered the drug, saying he “wasn’t particularly proficient with the code” .
“I have to confess… I had not read the small print on possession of prohibited substances. That never occurred to me,” he said.
Dr Freeman has been accused by the General Medical Council (GMC) of ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to the National Cycling Centre in 2011 “knowing or believing” it was intended to boost an athlete’s performance.
He has admitted 18 of 22 charges against him, which include initially lying to try to cover up the order, and to a UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) investigation.
But Dr Freeman denies the remaining four charges including the central accusation he helped to dope a rider, saying he was bullied into ordering the drug by former British Cycling and Team Sky performance director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction.
Sutton has denied those claims, claiming Freeman is lying.
“Offensive in every respect”
After the delivery was discovered by a colleague, Dr Freeman says he was instructed to immediately return the testosterone to a nearby local supplier by his then-boss, British Cycling’s former Medical Director Dr Steve Peters.
Instead, he claimed on Wednesday he had disposed of the substance himself. It came a day after Dr Freeman said he had destroyed a laptop which may have contained medical data crucial to an anti-doping investigation.
“You’ve not put in any statement previously that you destroyed it, have you Mr Freeman?” asked Simon Jackson QC, the GMC’s lawyer. “Why is that?”
“I haven’t an answer to that,” replied Dr Freeman.
When it was put to Dr Freeman that he had in fact kept the testosterone at home in order to dope a rider, he said the suggestion was “offensive in every respect”.
Earlier, the tribunal heard that Dr Freeman may have unwittingly broken Wada rules which ban support personnel from possessing banned substances because he had not read the “small print”.
“You talk about this being small print Dr Freeman. It’s really a headline. It’s Article 2 of the Wada code. It’s not small print is it? It’s the whole premise of what the code’s about,” said Mr Jackson.
“You should not be in possession of testosterone. You did not have justifiable medical circumstances to be in possession.”
“I admit to poor medical judgement” said Dr Fereeman.
“I was getting, ordering and prescribing the Testogel for a man I considered my patient.”
The medic said that when Dr Peters became aware of the delivery of testosterone he said “‘oh my goodness, why is this here?'”
“That knowledge came crashing down on me, and that’s how I came to know more about such things. I apologise,” Dr Freeman added.
Mr Jackson also questioned Freeman over his insistence that he had ordered the testosterone because he felt bullied into doing so by Sutton.
“You had no experience or competence, first-hand or second-hand, that would warrant you ordering [it].”
“I did believe it was highly likely to improve his sexual performance,” said Dr Freeman.
“That doesn’t square, Dr Freeman, with the statement you gave that you had no knowledge of it. The two I suggest are completely different positions, aren’t they?” Mr Jackson responded.
“I agree, I apologise if I misled you,” Dr Freeman replied.
The hearing continues.