Dr Freeman tribunal: Ex-British Cycling doctor denies taking undue risks with riders

Cycling
Dr Richard Freeman and defence team

Dr Richard Freeman says he has “never, ever taken any undue risks with a rider” as the hearing into his fitness to practise medicine continued.

He has admitted a number of charges but denies ordering testosterone “knowing or believing” it was for improving a rider’s performance.

He said a rider had “never come across any harm” as a result of his care.

“My job is to protect the health of the riders even against themselves,” the former British Cycling doctor said.

Dr Freeman, who was also Team Sky’s doctor, has admitted 18 of 22 charges against him, which include ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to the National Cycling Centre in 2011, lying to try to cover up the order and lying to a UK Anti-Doping investigation.

His case centres around his claim, which former British cycling technical director Shane Sutton denies, that he ordered Testogel patches to treat Sutton’s erectile disfunction.

Speaking on Tuesday at the tribunal Dr Freeman added: “We do have to take risks because these are elite sportsmen, there’s no time to sit down if they have asthma or something.

“They all want to win but it’s not at all costs. You have to take a risk/benefit analysis, this is elite sport.

“I would never, ever take risks or put a rider at serious harm’s way and I have to be prepared to fall on my sword and if senior management sack me then so be it.

“I have never, ever taken any undue risks with a rider and they have never come across any harm because of my care. I will stand to that until my last breath.”

Dr Freeman was answering questions from his QC Mary O’Rourke on Tuesday, having previously been answering questions from General Medical Council QC Simon Jackson in a cross-examination which lasted six weeks rather than five days as expected.

“I’m here to assist the tribunal and tell the truth,” he said.

“I was never told how long it was going to be. So many times I felt ambushed and unprepared. I have found that pressure very difficult

“I’m not impatient but I have thought, ‘Let’s move on’. Sometimes I felt I could have done better [when responding to Mr Jackson]. But I was determined to finish.”

Asked if he could have given better answers if the cross-examination was across a shorter timeframe, he added: “I think I would have given much better evidence and it would have been a much fairer hearing.”

The hearing continues.

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