Freeman barrister makes Shane Sutton doping allegations

By Ian Parker, PA

Richard Freeman’s barrister has claimed that a current British Cycling coach used a Coke can containing urine to try to help Shane Sutton cover up a doping offence during the Australian’s riding career.

The allegation was among several against Sutton raised by Dr Freeman’s barrister Mary O’Rourke QC during his ongoing medical tribunal on Tuesday.

Sutton is a key witness but walked out of the tribunal – called by the General Medical Council to assess Dr Freeman’s fitness to practise – on November 12 and has not returned, having denied O’Rourke’s allegations that he is a “bully, a liar and a doper”.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Sutton has also stated that he never tested positive in 100 tests during his cycling career.

On Tuesday O’Rourke outlined the questions she had planned to put to Sutton if her cross-examination had continued, having been permitted to do so but told the questions would be treated as “assertions, not evidence” by the tribunal.

Shane Sutton walked out of the tribunal last month
Shane Sutton walked out of the tribunal last month

Shane Sutton walked out of the tribunal last month (Martin Rickett/PA).

A series of allegations then followed, the most serious being that a current British Cycling coach handed Sutton a Coke can containing urine during an edition of the Tour of Ireland in an attempt to beat a doping test.

O’Rourke said the pair were caught and their team withdrew from the race to prevent the matter being pursued.

British Cycling later issued a statement which said: “British Cycling is committed to clean sport and we take any allegations relating to doping very seriously.

“We urge anyone with any information regarding doping to contact UK Anti-Doping, as the UK’s national anti-doping organisation.”

During the session, O’Rourke additionally claimed Sutton had received drugs in the toilet of a fast food restaurant in Edinburgh around the time of the 1986 Commonwealth Games, though later clarified she meant to say the 1987 Tour of Britain.

Further, O’Rourke told the tribunal Sutton had confessed to Dr Freeman that he used amphetamines as a rider and used his partner’s phone to verbally abuse Dr Freeman after the doctor had blocked his own number.

Richard Freeman is facing a General Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing
Richard Freeman is facing a General Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing

Richard Freeman is facing a General Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing (Eleanor Crooks/PA).

O’Rourke also said she had a five-page statement from 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke and her father accusing Sutton of “bullying, dishonesty and other shady behaviour”.

O’Rourke said Sutton would have had the opportunity to rebut the questions had he returned to the tribunal.

In his own half-time submission on behalf of the GMC, Simon Jackson QC said: “I would respectfully ask you to consider all the evidence. Miss O’Rourke is focused on attacking Mr Sutton.”

Dr Freeman denies a General Medical Council charge that he ordered testosterone gel knowing or believing it was for an athlete to improve performance but has admitted ordering the gel and lying to British Cycling colleagues about it.

He says Sutton bullied him into placing an order for testosterone gel in May 2011, something Sutton denies.

Dr Freeman has also admitted charges related to record-keeping and prescribing medicines to non-athlete members of staff.

The tribunal continues on Friday.

What to read next