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Dr Freeman provides written statement at Varnish trial after avoiding public appearance

Joe Robinson
14 Dec 2018

Former Team Sky and BC doctor claims athletes were under 'complete control' of coaches

Dr Richard Freedman has provided a written statement at the employment tribunal of ex-GB track rider Jess Varnish having been advised not to appear in person on legal grounds.

The former doctor for British Cycling and Team Sky was due to appear in Manchester in order to give evidence in the case but then decided to avoid publically attending due to still being under investigation by the General Medical Council for a delivery of testosterone patches to the National Velodrome in 2011. 

Dr Freeman has also been largely implicated in the delivery of the 'jiffy bag' to Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine although he denies any wrongdoing.

GMC officials were scheduled to attend the current employment tribunal, with Freeman due to be cross-examined by British Cycling's lawyer in order to establish his integrity. Thomas Linden claimed that Freeman lacked 'the courage to be cross-examined or for me to point out to him that his statements are false.'

He also reminded the court that Freeman escaped being reprimanded for poor record-keeping during his time at British Cycling and was instead allowed to resign as he was suffering from depression and stress. 

Freeman was then advised by his legal team to withdraw from proceedings although told to provide written evidence by the proceeding judge.

Freeman will appear in front of the GMC to provide a statement on the case next February. 

In a written statement, Freeman commented that 'the control by the coaches over the athletes was complete - cycling is a coach-led sport' and that athletes were 'firmly controlled' by coaches who would 'decide everything'. 

He also stated that due to the level of control held by the programme's coaches 'non-compliance was not acceptable'.

Former track sprinter Varnish is currently trying to prove that she was an employee of British Cycling and UK Sport in order to proceed with a lawsuit looking to sue the national body for wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination. 

Varnish, now 28, was axed from British Cycling's elite programme but claimed that technical director, Shane Sutton, used sexist language towards her during such time.

Sutton then stood down from his post but was cleared of all but one allegation.