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Richard Freeman: Ex-Team Sky & British Cycling doctor’s tribunal could be delayed several months

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July 2018: Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Freeman – We never crossed the line

The medical tribunal of former chief Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman is at serious risk of being delayed for several months.

Freeman is yet to attend his hearing in Manchester, which was due to begin on Wednesday before a delay until Friday.

The tribunal has resumed in private legal argument, which is set to continue for the rest of the week.

Freeman has been charged with ordering testosterone in May 2011 to give to an unnamed rider to boost performance.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has accused him of lying to conceal his motive but Freeman denies any wrongdoing.

His legal team successfully applied for the 48-hour adjournment on Wednesday and the ongoing delay means the start of the actual Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing has been pushed back by eight days at least.

Sources at the GMC and MPTS say it is now likely the case will not be completed within the four weeks initially allocated and will need to be adjourned and re-listed for later in the year, depending on availability of the panel and lawyers.

Freeman’s renowned barrister Mary O’Rourke is understood to have various other cases arranged for several months following this one, possibly preventing any resumption until next year.

That delay could affect whether UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) is able launch a new investigation should fresh evidence emerge. Ukad concluded its investigation into British Cycling and Team Sky 15 months ago.

Freeman allegedly ordered the testosterone, which is banned for use by athletes at all times, to Manchester’s National Cycling Centre from Oldham-based medical supplier Fit4Sport Ltd in May 2011.

The statute of limitations for prosecuting anti-doping cases was eight years in 2011. The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) extended that until 10 years in 2015 but it is likely the shorter statute of limitations will apply in this case.

Damian Collins MP – chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee, whose report last year found Team Sky had “crossed an ethical line” with its use of medical exemptions for banned drugs – criticised the delay.

“It is disgraceful that delaying tactics are holding up the work of this important medical tribunal into Dr Richard Freeman’s work for British Cycling and Team Sky,” he said.

Following a GMC investigation, Freeman was charged with contacting Fit4Sport Limited to ask for confirmation the order had been “sent in error, returned and would be destroyed” by the company, despite “knowing that this had not taken place”.

Last month the BBC obtained email correspondence that showed that five months passed between the testosterone gel arriving at the velodrome in May 2011, and Freeman receiving a note from the supplier that it had been sent by mistake.

Freeman is also alleged to have lied to Ukad investigators in February 2017 by stating the testosterone had been ordered for a non-athlete member of staff.

Freeman received a mystery medical package for Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2011 but was unable to prove what it contained, blaming the theft of his laptop and poor record-keeping. He also denied the claims in the DCMS report, while Team Sky also denied any wrongdoing.

Last year Freeman, who resigned from British Cycling in October 2017 because of ill health, told the BBC that he suffered a “major depressive illness” before he was due to give evidence at a parliamentary select committee hearing in December 2016.

He denies any wrongdoing and has vowed to “clear everything up” over the testosterone delivery after the GMC investigation.

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Track Cycling World Championships: GB name squad as Williamson returns

Cyclist Vicky Williamson

Vicky Williamson was unable to train for 10 months following her accident in Rotterdam in 2016

Vicky Williamson has been included in the Great Britain squad for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, which start this month.

Williamson, 25, recently returned to elite action after suffering serious injuries in a race crash in March 2016.

Reigning world champions Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi, Ethan Hayter, Charlie Tanfield, Katie Archibald and Emily Nelson are all in the 22-strong squad.

Olympic champions Jason and Laura Kenny will also compete in Poland.

Williamson had to spend four weeks in hospital and undergo extensive rehabilitation after fracturing her neck and back, dislocating her pelvis and slipping a disc in her neck in the crash in Rotterdam.

The Norfolk-born rider, who won bronze in the women’s team sprint at the 2013 World Championships, made her return for Great Britain at the Track World Cup in Hong Kong last month.

Olympic stars Elinor Barker, Philip Hindes and Katy Marchant have also been selected in the British squad for the championships, which take place in Pruszkow from Wednesday, 27 February to Sunday, 3 March.

Great Britain squad

Men’s Endurance: John Archibald, Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi, Ethan Hayter, Mark Stewart, Charlie Tanfield, Matt Walls, Ollie Wood.

Women’s Endurance: Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Ellie Dickinson, Neah Evans, Laura Kenny, Emily Nelson.

Men’s Sprint: Jack Carlin, Phil Hindes, Jason Kenny, Ryan Owens, Joe Truman.

Women’s Sprint: Lauren Bate, Katy Marchant, Vicky Williamson.

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Geraint Thomas ‘back to the day job’ after Tour de France celebrations

BBC Sport Wales catches up with 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas ahead of his first race of the 2019 season.

Thomas, 32, rides in the five-stage Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in southern Spain from Wednesday – his first race since the Tour of Britain last September.

The Welshman says he’s enjoyed his busy life since winning the Tour de France last summer but his focus has now switched to being in the best shape possible to defend his title.

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Tour of Valencia: Adam Yates wins stage four as Spain’s Ion Izagiree closes on overall victory

Adam Yates

It was Yates’ first stage win for eight months, since a victory at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2018

Britain’s Adam Yates held off Spain’s Alejandro Valverde to win stage four of the Tour of Valencia on Saturday.

Yates, who rides for Mitchelton-Scott, attacked in the last kilometre of a hilly stage, which had included four categorised climbs, and Movistar’s Valverde was unable to close the gap in time.

Astana’s Spanish rider Ion Izagirre, who finished fourth, holds a seven-second advantage over world champion Valverde heading into the final day of the event.

“It feels good,” Yates said. “I’ve had a really good off-season. I’ve been really consistent with my training and doing everything correctly and it just goes to show – when you commit like that, everything comes together.”

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Kenny to race at inaugural Six Day Series in Manchester

Laura Kenny

Laura Kenny won the British scratch race title in London in December

Olympic champion Laura Kenny will ride in the inaugural Six Day Series Manchester at the National Cycling Centre in March.

Kenny, 26, will take part in the event – a mix of track racing and music for elite men and women and emerging junior talent – from 22-24 March.

Racing will include the Madison, time trials, team eliminations, scratch races and points race.

GB Olympic and Commonwealth champion Katie Archibald is also set to compete.

Kenny, Britain’s most successful female Olympian of all time with four gold medals, said she is “excited” to make her debut in the competition.

“Six Day is hugely competitive and mentally and physically challenging, so I hope the Manchester crowd really get behind the event, the riders,” said Kenny, who won gold in the scratch race at the British Track Championships in December.

The racing takes place to a backdrop of music, provided by track-centre DJ, while the venue lighting is turned down to add to a “party atmosphere”.

The competition, which usually takes place over six days, is one of two new events added to the 2018-19 series, which began in London in October 2018 at Lee Valley VeloPark.

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