Dr Richard Freeman's tribunal looks set to run until at least next summer

Credit: PA

Dr Richard Freeman’s long running medical tribunal will run into next year, it has been confirmed. 

The saga over a batch of testosterone which Freeman ordered to be delivered British Cycling’s headquarters in May 2011 has been making painfully slow progress. 

It began in February of last year but has faced innumerable obstacles including Freeman’s ill health and the global pandemic. 

Freeman admits 18 of 22 charges which have been brought against him by the General Medical Council. But he denies the central charge, which is that he ordered the testosterone “knowing or believing it was intended for a rider”. 

He says he ordered it to treat Shane Sutton’s erectile dysfunction, a claim the former head coach of British Cycling strenuously denies.

Freeman’s cross-examination, which began at the start of last month, was only meant to last two weeks. But it only concluded on Wednesday. 

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) sent around a note on Thursday saying that, given the slow progress being made, it did not expect the hearing to conclude by November 26, which was the allotted end date. 

“Further dates will be required in 2021,” the note said. “You will be informed of new dates in due course.”

It is thought unlikely a new window will be found until at least next July with Freeman’s QC, Mary O’Rourke, busy with another case from the start of December. 

There should be time to hear from three witnesses for the defence before Nov 26, however, beginning on Friday with the psychiatrist Professor Henderson. Tony Cooke, father of Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, and ex-rider Květoslav Palov, who used to race with Sutton, are due to appear next week.