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A former Team Sky doctor raised concerns in 2010 that new medical protocols introduced after a disappointing first season in professional cycling might breach World Anti-Doping Agency rules, a medical tribunal heard on Friday.
The hearing was read an email from Dr David Hulse, in which he warned Dr Richard Freeman, British Cycling head of medicine, Dr Steve Peters, and Team Sky’s senior managers that the use of multiple injections for intravenous recovery “would constitute a prohibited method”.
“Certain procedures in the protocols are still not consistent with the Wada code of 2009 and the prohibited list of 2010/11,” wrote Hulse. “The placement of equipment for multiple injections is potentially beyond the 50ml limit. This would constitute a prohibited method. It would neither be consistent with best practice in sports medicine nor potentially with Wada regulations.”
“I hope you understand that in the light of these concerns I would not be able to comply with these protocols,” added Hulse, who left Team Sky shortly after the email was sent in November 2010.
Simon Jackson, QC for the General Medical Council, also read out an email from Freeman to the UCI, regarding the protocols, which he insisted reflected the Wada code and good medical practice, but said: “We both know there are ways to abuse the Wada guidelines.”
The tribunal was also told by the GMC that Hulse strongly disputed Freeman’s claims that he left Team Sky because the riders were “disillusioned” after a poor season and the death from a blood infection of a team carer, Txema González during the 2010 Vuelta, and wanted “more experienced doctors who knew cycling.”
However Freeman’s QC, Mary O’Rourke, said she wanted Hulse to challenge her client’s account in person. “He needs to put up or shut up,” she said. “Is he accusing Dr Freeman of being a liar? Let’s see it in black and white that Dr Hulse says that Dr Freeman told a lie on oath.”
Freeman has admitted 18 of 22 charges against him, including ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to British Cycling headquarters and lying about it. However he denies the central charge of ordering testosterone in order to enhance a rider’s performance. The tribunal also heard that Freeman has asked for access to a laptop belonging to him that is in the hands of British Cycling – but the organisation did not want him to look at it without supervision because they feared he might ‘lose’ data. “There are concerns about security that the data is not lost,” explained Jackson.
O’Rourke reacted angrily, saying: “I have to confess to being pretty shocked at what’s been said. If the inference is that Dr Freeman can’t be trusted to sit in a room, that’s offensive.”
The hearing continues on Monday.