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Hearing into a number of serious allegations against medic now due to open on Friday

UPDATED: A medical tribunal into former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman that had been due to open in Manchester today has now been adjourned until Friday after he failed to appear.

The hearing, which is due to last for four weeks, will now commence at 0930 this Friday.

There had been speculation in the press this morning over whether or not Freeman would attend today's scheduled hearing.

In 2017, citing ill-health, he failed to appear before a parliamentary committee investigating, among other things, the contents of a Jiffy Bag couriered to him at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 and believed to have contained medicine for then Team Sky rider, Sir Bradley Wiggins.

And last December, he pulled out of a scheduled appearance at an employment tribunal in Manchester where he was due to testify on behalf of former track sprinter Jess Varnish, on the grounds that it might prejudice the tribunal he faces.

In a statement issued today, British Cuycling said: "It is in the public interest and in the best interests of the sport that the allegations against Dr Richard Freeman are heard and examined by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

"We continue to support the General Medical Council's work as historic questions need to be resolved."

The case is being brought by the General Medical Council and revolves around the delivery in 2011 of 30 Testogel testosterone patches to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

Among the allegations against Freeman are that he ordered the patches specifically to “administer to an athlete to improve their athletic performance.”

It is also alleged that when British Cycling’s former head of medicine, Dr Steve Peters, learnt of the delivery, Freeman claimed that they had been delivered in error.

However, they were not returned to the supplier for five months, and it is further claimed that Freeman asked the company to provide an email confirming they had been sent by mistake.

However, he told UK Anti-doping (UKAD) in 2017 that he had ordered the Testogel for a member of British Cycling staff who was not an athlete.

Other allegations against Freeman, who faces being suspended from practising medicine or even struck off if the case against him is proven, include poor record-keeping and treating non-athlete staff.

Three tribunal members will hear the case, with former British Cycling staff including Peters and Shane Sutton expected to be among those giving evidence.

Observers from UKAD will also be in attendance and depending on what is revealed over coming weeks, there is speculation the agency could reopen its investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky, closed last year due to lack of evidence.

This story was originally published at 11.30am on Wednesday 6 February 2018 and updated at 2.15pm on Wednesday 6 February 2018.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.