Ex-British Cycling and Team Sky chief doctor Richard Freeman has been found guilty of ordering banned testosterone in 2011 “knowing or believing” it was to help dope an unnamed rider.
A medical tribunal ruled Freeman ordered Testogel with the knowledge “it was to be administered to an athlete to improve their athletic performance”.
He had previously admitted 18 of 22 charges but denied the central charge regarding the purpose of the order.
His hearing will resume on 17 March.
That is when the tribunal will consider if Freeman’s “fitness to practise is impaired”.
During the tribunal, which has lasted for more than two years, Freeman said he was bullied into ordering the drug by former British Cycling and Team Sky performance director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction.
Sutton denied those claims, and claimed Freeman was lying. The tribunal ruled Freeman’s claims were an “elaborate falsehood”.
It ruled that the motive for Freeman’s actions was to “conceal his conduct”. Only one charge was found not proved – that he knew the Testogel was not “clinically indicated” for Sutton.
The tribunal found Freeman’s actions “incapable of innocent explanation”.
In the tribunal’s written reasons, it said: “In May 2011, Dr Freeman, the team doctor for a team of elite cyclists and a member of the anti-doping working group, ordered a doping ‘drug of choice’ for that sport. Upon its arrival he was dishonest about why it had been sent, removed it from the Velodrome, and it was never seen again. The Tribunal found that Dr Freeman has been dishonest in its regard ever since.”
In a statement following the GMC verdict, Sutton said he was “saddened by the whole affair”.
“I feel for the doctor; that he ever got into this situation, and I remain disappointed that I was used as a scapegoat,” he said. “It has caused great pain to both me and my family.
“But it also saddens me that this episode has cast a huge shadow over the success we enjoyed, both at Team Sky and British Cycling. I’d like to stress that neither I nor Sir Dave Brailsford [general manager of Team Sky (now Team Ineos) and former performance director of British Cycling] knew about the testosterone order. But I think it’s important to find out who the doctor ordered it for.”