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Former British Cycling doctor Freeman downloaded information on testosterone month before ordering drug

Evidence of Freeman dowloading academic articles about testosterone was heard at the tribunal on Wednesday

Joe Robinson
21 Nov 2019

Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman acquired information on how testosterone could enhance the performance of endurance athletes before ordering the banned substance to the Manchester Velodrome.

Freeman is currently facing charges from the General Medical Council for ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to the British Cycling headquarters from supplier Fit4Sport in 2011, with the purpose of giving them to an athlete to boost performance.

Freeman denies charges that the drug was ordered for an athlete, instead stating he was bullied by former British Cycling coach Shane Sutton into ordering the package to treat the Australian's erectile dysfunction.

The tribunal heard on Wednesday that Dr Freeman's laptop had downloaded certain academic articles about testosterone just weeks before the Testogel order took place.

Freeman's laptop, which had been seized for the investigation, showed that an article had been downloaded in April 2011 concerning the effects of Sildenafil, better known by its brand name Viagra. It is believed that the use of Viagra can boost testosterone levels in men.

Unlike testosterone, Sildenafil is not a banned substance with the tribunal hearing last week that the drug was regularly prescribed to male riders 'because athletes spending a long time in the saddle have nerve issues that require them.'

It is also known that Team Sky experimented with Viagra at altitude in 2010 to see if it could give riders any performance-enhancing benefits.

The same investigation into Freeman's laptop discovered that he had also downloaded an article from 2008 explaining the effects of endurance exercise on testosterone levels.

In response, Freeman's legal counsel Mary O'Rourke QC claimed that due to there being three-monthly tests for testosterone carried out on athletes, Freeman would have had to acquire knowledge on the drug.

Freeman has already pleaded guilty to 18 of the 22 charges handed by the GMC and risks being struck off as a doctor. The hearing continues on Thursday.