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Team Sky Jiffy Bag doctor to break silence in “extraordinary new book”

Select committee that criticised Dr Richard Freeman in its report on doping to take "close interest" in book's contents...

Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman is to break his silence in what its publishers call “an extraordinary new book” on the ‘Jiffy Bag’ affair that led to both being investigated by UK Anti-doping over allegations of wrongdoing.

Last year, Freeman declined to provide evidence to a House of Commons select committee examining combatting doping in sport, and in October left his position at British Cycling, citing ill-health.

> Jiffy bag doctor resigns from British Cycling due to ill health

Now, however, it has been revealed that he has written a book that will be published later this month, much of which will touch on issues on which members of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee were eager to quiz him. The committee's chair has said it will "take "a close interest" in the book's contents. 

The book’s title, The Line: Where the Worlds of Medicine and Sport Collide, echoes Team Sky’s highly publicised mission statement when it launched ahead of the 2010 season and which referred to the blue vertical line that appeared on the rear of its jerseys until the end of 2016 and was also prominent in other aspects of its branding.  

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The 336-page book will be released on 28 June, little more than a week before the start of the Tour de France, guaranteeing it a wealth of publicity with Team Sky also embroiled in the ongoing saga of four-time champion Chris Froome's salbutamol case.

> UCI president David Lappartient says decision on Chris Froome case now unlikely until after Tour de France

According to publisher Wildfire,  “in a sport where there's an ethical line as well as a finishing line, Dr Freeman gives a frank and open account in response to allegations of misuse of medical treatment to enhance performance.”

The select committee focused on Team Sky and British Cycling in late 2016 due to concerns over therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) granted to Sir Bradley Wiggins, as well as the contents of a Jiffy Bag containing medicine for the rider delivered to Freeman at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné.

Existence of the TUEs, granted ahead of key races including the 2012 Tour de France which Wiggins won, had been revealed by Russian hackers in the wake of the Rio Olympics.

In October 2016, Daily Mail sports editor Matt Lawton revealed the existence of the Jiffy Bag, which was take to France by then British Cycling employee, Simon Cope.

In evidence given to the inquiry in December 2016 following several ,weeks of denying knowledge of what was in the package, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford told the select committee it contained the legal anti-asthma drug, Fluimucil.

However, the absence of medical records, plus the apparent theft of Freeman’s laptop while he was on holiday in Greece in 2014 and Freeman’s failure to follow Team Sky policy and upload files to a shared Dropbox account, meant it was impossible to substantiate that claim and UKAD closed the case in November 2017 with no charges brought due to there being insufficient evidence.

The select committee’s report was published last March and was highly critical of both British Cycling and Team Sky, saying that “To many people, the whole story of the package seems implausible, to say the least,” and noting that it had been alleged to UKAD that it contained triamcinolone.

Had it been the latter, since it was administered to Wiggins immediately after the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné, a race he won, and he did not at the time have a valid TUE for the drug, it would have constituted an anti-doping rule violation.

The report revealed that the committee had invited Freeman to comment on what was in the package, and that “In response, rather than confirm what David Brailsford told the Committee that the package contained, “only Fluimucil”, he wrote that he had taken legal advice,” and told the inquiry:

Where I have not had disclosed to me the nature of the ‘new evidence’, its format, source and any other relevant details, including why the evidence should only be available now, it would not be appropriate for me to respond presently. Given the potential seriousness of the matters you have now raised, I am advised that mindful of the background of various investigations which are ongoing, I should not be expected to provide any further comment to you presently.

The report found that UKAD’s investigation “was made much harder by the failure of both the team managers, and British Cycling to ensure proper records were kept relating to the supply of medicines and the treatment of athletes.

“It is not acceptable that Dr Freeman should have been able to act during the period under investigation without proper supervision,” it continued.

“It should have been ensured that the medical records for Bradley Wiggins were uploaded to the shared cloud storage system, as then required by Team Sky.”

The report added: “The General Medical Council (GMC) should investigate Dr Freeman for his failings, and, if he is found to have breached their rules, take appropriate action against him.”

Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe and chair of the select committee, told Telegraph Sport that he and his colleagues would take “a close interest” in the book’s contents.

He said: “It is disappointing that Richard Freeman wants to tell his story, rather than be questioned about it in front of the committee.

“We will take a close ­interest in anything he says which is related to our inquiry and report,” he added.

Wiggins himself, who insisted after publication of the select committee’s report that he had been the subject of a “malicious witch hunt,” is quoted in the publicity material for the book on the publisher’s website.

The quote reads: ”Dr Freeman is a man of great integrity and kindness. His care has helped me through the good times and the hardships of competing in the highest level of sport.”

the_line_cover.jpg

 

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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25 comments

Avatar
fennesz | 5 years ago
1 like

It's a terrible book.  The biggest section is a bit about not shaving your minge.

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to fennesz | 5 years ago
0 likes

fennesz wrote:

It's a terrible book.  The biggest section is a bit about not shaving your minge.

So something we all knew already, there's a surprise.

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fuzzywuzzy | 6 years ago
0 likes

So not just a weasel but a money-grabbing weasel? Maybe his book will change my opinion of him (although I'm certainly not going to buy it...) but he best have a good explanation for his shockingly poor record keeping and managing to write a book at the same time as being too ill to appear before a parlimentary committee.

 

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
3 likes

Nothing will really be said. If he couldn't be arsed telling the truth for an inquiry I doubt it will surface for a book. The potential for trouble from Sky's lawyers for defamation and possibly from the government means this will be a damb squib rather an explosive read.

Maybe they can make it into a TV thriller and change the names slightly.

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Simmo72 | 6 years ago
0 likes

Another book to avoid reading this summer.

I have a medical consultant chasing me for a payment I made to him back in November.  I paid him, I've checked the account #, provided him the reference and got confirmation from my bank his account was paid...but he and his useless secretary are still chasing me.....good at fixing bodies......shit at admin.

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LastBoyScout replied to Simmo72 | 6 years ago
0 likes

Simmo72 wrote:

I have a medical consultant chasing me for a payment I made to him back in November.  I paid him, I've checked the account #, provided him the reference and got confirmation from my bank his account was paid...but he and his useless secretary are still chasing me.....good at fixing bodies......shit at admin.

Had a similar run-in with a private consultant a couple of years ago. Told them at the time that BUPA wouldn't cover the cost of the appointment and to send the invoice to me personally. 6 months later, I got a letter saying that BUPA had refused payment and would I kindly arrange payment at my earliest convenience! To be fair, it was probably his secretary's fault, rather than his.

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Derk Davies | 6 years ago
3 likes

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. What a blatent profiteering A'hole. Please don't buy this book.

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Crashboy | 6 years ago
3 likes

"This is the line between "being bothered" and "not being bothered as all the hard facts are now obscured by time, lies and incompetence"....oh, hang on - where has the line gone......oh, we crossed it ages ago.

Teenagers come up with better excuses for not doing their homework than this pile of "laptop stolen and  - would you believe it - I also forgot to back up as per strict company procedure" nonsense.  If the guy can simply "decline to give evidence" to the governing body of the industry he works in (was there not a legal imperative for him to speak? ), why would we trust anything he says now anyway?

Leave Wiggo to his rowing, leave this guy and the publishers to their sensationalism / confessions / storytelling and get out in the sunshine  on yer bike - if the crazy pollen count lets you. (If not go and see a doctor for something to help...but make sure they make proper notes, LoL....)

 

Avatar
brooksby | 6 years ago
2 likes

Quote:

Last year, Freeman declined to provide evidence to a House of Commons select committee examining combatting doping in sport, and in October left his position at British Cycling, citing ill-health.

Now, however, it has been revealed that he has written a book that will be published later this month, much of which will touch on issues on which members of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee were eager to quiz him.

Doesn't that count as some sort of contempt (of Parliament, or something)? 

Avatar
jamesppics replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
1 like

brooksby wrote:

Quote:

Last year, Freeman declined to provide evidence to a House of Commons select committee examining combatting doping in sport, and in October left his position at British Cycling, citing ill-health.

Now, however, it has been revealed that he has written a book that will be published later this month, much of which will touch on issues on which members of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee were eager to quiz him.

Doesn't that count as some sort of contempt (of Parliament, or something)? 

And why arent the cycling news not leading with that? Freemans attitude and actions is the biggest "smoking gun" in the whole Sky Did they/Didnt they saga but this has been treated with all the scepicism of the latest Julia Donaldson (parents will know who....) release. 

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caw35ride | 6 years ago
3 likes

I can't wait.

Edited.

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madcarew | 6 years ago
6 likes

I'm surprised he could remember anything to put in it, being as how he lost all his notes on his computer and all

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
3 likes

Wouldn't buy it if it was in the 99p 'we've a shit load of this crap still to shift' basket, clearly there will be a load of punters ready to part with their hard earned thinking this will reveal something out the ordinary.

Good luck to you in your quest.

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Liam Cahill replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
7 likes

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Wouldn't buy it if it was in the 99p 'we've a shit load of this crap still to shift' basket, clearly there will be a load of punters ready to part with their hard earned thinking this will reveal something out the ordinary.

Good luck to you in your quest.

I'd bet we'll get one for review so sit back and we'll tell you what happens. Could even do a Facebook Live bedtime story...

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to Liam Cahill | 6 years ago
0 likes

Liam Cahill wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Wouldn't buy it if it was in the 99p 'we've a shit load of this crap still to shift' basket, clearly there will be a load of punters ready to part with their hard earned thinking this will reveal something out the ordinary.

Good luck to you in your quest.

I'd bet we'll get one for review so sit back and we'll tell you what happens. Could even do a Facebook Live bedtime story...

I'll be pulling a sick-note out for that day ...

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check12 | 6 years ago
1 like

Get well soon 

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Must be Mad | 6 years ago
3 likes

The publisher is going for maximum shock value.... but if the book is written by the doctor himself; surly the confidential details which people are hungry for will be off the table

 

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HarrogateSpa | 6 years ago
1 like

Foreword by Samuele Allardicio! Pour yourself a pint of wine, put your feet up, and enjoy a good read.

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thehill | 6 years ago
5 likes

correct me if i am wrong, but he was signed of sick for gettin on for 18 months, and couldnt possibly find a day to give evidence. god forbid having to get off your arse would interfere with writing a book about the whole sorry episode. WTF !

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Simon E replied to thehill | 6 years ago
1 like

thehill wrote:

correct me if i am wrong, but he was signed of sick for gettin on for 18 months, and couldnt possibly find a day to give evidence. god forbid having to get off your arse would interfere with writing a book about the whole sorry episode. WTF !

Agree 100%.

And agree with other comments, I find this disgraceful. He must have pulled a sickie on the day they discussed ethics at medical college.

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leqin | 6 years ago
9 likes

Does the book arrive in a Jiffy Bag?

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Velovoyeur | 6 years ago
4 likes

As a Doctor, he probably has good understanding of the effects and side effects of particular prescription medicines. If the rules permit these to be used then there has been no breach of the rules. However, most doctors understand the importance of keeping records and back ups. Not this one, obviously...... Where did he keep his accurate records upon which his book might be based?

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HowardR replied to Velovoyeur | 6 years ago
4 likes

Velovoyeur wrote:

As a Doctor, he probably has good understanding of the effects and side effects of particular prescription medicines. If the rules permit these to be used then there has been no breach of the rules. However, most doctors understand the importance of keeping records and back ups. Not this one, obviously...... Where did he keep his accurate records upon which his book might be based?

My day job, in part, involves checking that doctors keep good records. Your right that most (almost all) doctors understand the importance of doing so - however - not all do understand that and some may understand it..... and not be quite so good in practice. Problems with 'medicines management' are sadly not uncommon.

From my experiance of having worked in a couple of different areas, generaly, if you peek behind the 'professional' curtain you'll likely find some amount of chaos & shit behind it.

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whobiggs replied to HowardR | 6 years ago
1 like

HowardR wrote:

 

My day job, in part, involves checking that doctors keep good records. Your right that most (almost all) doctors understand the importance of doing so - however - not all do understand that and some may understand it..... and not be quite so good in practice. Problems with 'medicines management' are sadly not uncommon.

From my experiance of having worked in a couple of different areas, generaly, if you peek behind the 'professional' curtain you'll likely find some amount of chaos & shit behind it.

[/quote]

 

Does you're(!)  job include checking spelling? yes

Avatar
Hirsute | 6 years ago
0 likes

Dates are a bit muddled.

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