LONDON, Nov 13 — The ex-head coach of British Cycling and Team Sky Shane Sutton reacted with fury at a medical tribunal in Manchester yesterday after being forced to defend himself against accusations of bullying, doping and lying.
Representing accused ex-Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman in a fitness to practice hearing, Mary O’Rourke QC was questioning Sutton, who worked with Freeman for several years, before the former coach angrily withdrew.
“I’ve answered your questions, taken your bullying, and my children have taken your gutter tactics in the press,” said Sutton, who has been accused of bullying Freeman into ordering testosterone patches to treat Sutton’s erectile disfunction.
“She (O’Rourke) has accused me, but I’ve looked the panel in the eye, I’m not lying. I’m going to leave the hearing now.
“I’m going to go back to my little hole in Spain, enjoy my retirement and sleep at night knowing full well I didn’t order any patches,” Sutton said.
Sutton, who resigned as British Cycling’s technical director in 2016 after enjoying success with their track team, has been named as the person Freeman ordered testosterone for in 2011.
“Our case about Mr Sutton is that he’s a habitual and serial liar,” O’Rourke said earlier in the hearing.
“He’s a doper, with a doping history.”
Sutton, who was accused of discriminatory language while he was at British Cycling but cleared of all but one of the nine accusations, denies he “bullied” Freeman into ordering 30 Testogel sachets to treat his erectile dysfunction.
Hopefully he’ll come clean
Turning to Freeman, who has spent the hearing screened off from the public gallery for health reasons, Sutton added: “The person lying to you is behind the screen.
“Hopefully one day he will come clean. He’s a good bloke, good friend, I’ve no argument with him.
“I’m happy with what I achieved in my career. I wish Richard Freeman all the best going forward. There is no one better bedside than him.”
Freeman, who was British Cycling and Team Sky’s doctor from 2009 until he resigned in 2017, is facing a charge of medical misconduct from the General Medical Council (GMC).
They allege he ordered the Testogel sachets for the National Cycling Centre in May 2011 knowing or believing it was intended for an athlete to enhance performance and then lying to cover up the order.
The GMC’s case is that the testosterone was used for “micro-dosing” as a way of improving an athlete’s performance.
Their lawyer Simon Jackson has said that 62-year-old Sutton is being used as a scapegoat by Freeman.
Freeman denies the charge.
Earlier yesterday, the tribunal ruled the general topic of erectile dysfunction could be the subject of questions to Sutton in public.
Any other questions about his medical history must be asked in private.
The GMC had applied for all of Sutton’s health matters to be heard in private session, saying his anonymity had been “stripped away” by O’Rourke.
The tribunal said Jackson had already brought up erectile dysfunction in public session and the usual process to secure anonymity for Sutton was “always bound here to be more illusionary than real” because of the Australian’s public profile. — AFP