Dr Richard Freeman tells medical tribunal that neither he nor his former employers would ever ‘cross the line’

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Dr Richard Freeman - Dr Richard Freeman tells medical tribunal that neither he nor his employers would ever 'cross a line' - PADr Richard Freeman - Dr Richard Freeman tells medical tribunal that neither he nor his employers would ever 'cross a line' - PA
Dr Richard Freeman – Dr Richard Freeman tells medical tribunal that neither he nor his employers would ever ‘cross a line’ – PA
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor,&nbsp;has told a medical tribunal neither he nor they would ever “cross the line” while he worked for them.” data-reactid=”17″>Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, has told a medical tribunal neither he nor they would ever “cross the line” while he worked for them.

Freeman faces a fitness-to-practise hearing in Manchester revolving around a package containing banned testosterone patches which he ordered to the national velodrome in May 2011. 

Freeman is accused of ordering the Testogel “knowing or believing” it was intended for an athlete. He denies the charge, saying he was bullied into ordering it for former head coach Shane Sutton, a claim which Sutton vehemently denies.

Facing cross-examination from General Medical Council QC Simon Jackson, Freeman was on Wednesday asked about a past comment referring to intravenous nutritional support.

“You say, ‘My ethics as regards to professional sport are: as long as you do no harm you go to the line, even if that means considering intravenous, intramuscular support’,” read Jackson.

“What are you identifying as the line there?”

Freeman went on to say that references to “the line” were part of the mantra of Team Sky at the time, with the team jerseys having a blue line up their backs.

Freeman said: “This expression was used frequently since the inception of Team Sky. Sir Dave Brailsford [team principal] said there is a line we go to every day but we never cross it.”

As leading doctor, Freeman was in charge of drawing up protocols for his medical team to follow with regards to administering intravenous support to riders to aid recovery during or after races.

Jackson read out an email from Freeman’s former colleague Dr David Hulse in 2010 in which he raised concerns that aspects of the proposed protocols “may compromise the safety of our riders” and potentially breach World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines.

His reservations included the use of hotel rooms for intravenous treatment.

“He talks that, in his judgment, it would be serious,” said Jackson. “A hotel room would not be suitable for non-emergency invasive procedures and infusions of non-emergency pharmaceutical products. Do you agree with that?”

Freeman said that he did not agree, and while a hotel room may not have been the first choice it was better than the back of a bus.

He said: “Dr Hulse described what may have been his impression. He was a very good doctor and all the things here are very sensible but it is about risk management.

“Obviously the ideal would be a hospital operating theatre, then it would be a doctor’s clinic or a velodrome clinic.

“I didn’t think injections on the back of the bus were appropriate. I have never given an injection on the back of the bus. That’s what I was trying to move away from.

“There was all sorts of anecdotal evidence that these things had happened in cycling’s past in such environments. They were completely and utterly inappropriate.”

Freeman added that he had been in contact with senior figures at cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, at the time to ensure the protocols complied with regulations.

Dr Freeman has admitted 18 of the 22 charges he is facing.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday.