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Ex-British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman to testify at Jess varnish hearing - and faces GMC tribunal in February

Medic at centre of Jiffy Bag probe to appear as witness in former track sprinter's unfair dismissal case...

Richard Freeman, the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor, will appear as a witness today on behalf of former track sprinter Jess Varnish at an employment tribunal in Manchester. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the medical tribunal into his conduct while working for the governing body will take place in the same city in February.

Varnish is seeking to prove that she was an employee of British Cycling and UK Sport at the time she received Olympic funding, rather than self-employed.

The Daily Mail reports that Freeman is due to appear as a witness today on her behalf. Varnish herself will testify, and she has also called as witnesses her agent James Harper and her partner Liam Phillips, the former world BMX champion who himself was a recipient of Olympic funding.

The hearing, which opened yesterday, is due to last all week. It has been described as a potentially landmark case with far-reaching implications for funded athletes.

Freeman, meanwhile, will face a General Medical Council hearing in February over testosterone patches delivered to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, reports Sky Sports News.

The existence of the patches was discovered during UK Anti-doping’s probe, since closed, into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky.

The doctor, who in February 2017 failed to appear before a Parliamentary inquiry into doping in sport citing ill-health and left British Cycling later that year, insists the patches were delivered in error.

However, it has since been claimed that they were ordered specifically.

UKAD’s investigation, which focused on Therapeutic Use Exemptions signed off by Freeman for Sir Bradley Wiggins as well as the Jiffy Bag delivered to the doctor at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné, was unable to find evidence of wrongdoing but was highly critical of him and said it would pass its concerns on to the GMC.

In its report on doping in sport, the House of Commons Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recommended that the GMC “should investigate Dr Freeman for his failings, and, if he is found to have breached their rules, take appropriate action against him.”

Earlier this year, a spokesman for British Cycling said that the governing body had “referred concerns in relation to Dr Richard Freeman’s fitness to practise to the General Medical Council and we continue to support its ongoing investigation, in which we are co-complainants."

Should Freeman lose the case, he could be suspended from practising medicine or even struck off.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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