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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Team Sky’s Dr Richard Freeman faces a medical tribunal this week, Belgium apologized to Mathieu van der Poel, Thibaut Pinot is heading back to the Tour, and there’s a bicycle sail on Kickstarter. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Sky doctor faces medical tribunal this week
Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman will sit down in front of arbitrators from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) this week to answer questions stemming from a medical misconduct case brought by Britain’s General Medical Council (GMC).
Freeman will be questioned about a delivery of testosterone to the Manchester Velodrome, which houses British Cycling and Team Sky, as well as his own record keeping, his medical treatment of colleagues, and his prescription practices, among other issues.
The primary allegation concerns a package of Testogel delivered to the Manchester Velodrome in May 2011. The MPTS summary of the case levels a serious charge: “It is alleged that his motive for placing the order was to obtain Testogel to administer to an athlete to improve their athletic performance.”
Dr Freeman’s explanation of the Testogel delivery has changed since the matter was first uncovered, and the tribunal will look into whether the doctor lied when he initially claimed the shipment had been sent in error.
Dr Steven Peters, the former head of medicine at Team Sky and British Cycling, told the Sunday Times in 2017 that he was made aware of the shipment once it arrived. Dr Freeman told Dr Peters at that time that the shipment had been sent in error. Dr Peters then ordered that the box returned to its sender, Fit4Sport. It is alleged that five months after delivery Freeman obtained an email from Fit4Sport claiming the shipment had been returned, when he knew it had not been returned.
Freeman later told UK Anti-Doping that the box of testosterone had been ordered for a non-athletic staff member.
The GMC case will look into whether Dr Freeman lied when he claimed the Testogel had been returned, as well as allegations that Dr Freeman inappropriately provided treatment for a non-athletic member of staff. Dave Brailsford has previously stated that Dr Freeman injected him with triamcinolone.
Dr Freeman stands to lose his license to practice medicine, or serve a suspension from medical practice.
Belgium apologizes to van der Poel
Belgian Cycling has apologized to Mathieu van der Poel for the behavior of some Belgian fans at the world cyclocross championships last weekend. Following the race, which van der Poel won over Belgian Wout van Aert, van der Poel’s father Adri complained that his son has been doused with beer.
“Belgian Cycling strongly supports the internationalisation of cyclo-cross,” the Belgian statement read. That is why it is regrettable that one had to witness that a certain number of spectators – fortunately an absolute minority – are not of the same view. Nobody, including the Belgian delegation, benefits from unsporting and insulting behaviour.”
Pinot, Demare split grand tours
Thibaut Pinot has made the Tour de France the focus of his year, following two years focused on the Giro d’Italia. His French Groupama-FDJ teammate Arnaud Demare will take on the Giro’s sprint stages.
Pinot’s last Tour start came in 2017, shortly after he finished 4th at the Giro. He dropped out of the Tour on stage 17. In 2014, he finished on the Tour podium, in third.
He’s shooting for that podium once again.
“I don’t want to yell out too loudly that I’m going to hit the podium, even though I really want to,” he said in an interview with AFP. “You can be in the best form of your life and still finish fifth. The goal is always to do the best you can.”
‘Gram of the day
He makes this look way too easy.
Who needs pedals when you have wind
Hate crosswinds? Maybe you just need a sail.
Spotted on Kickstarter: An adjustable sail for your bicycle.
The aptly-named CycleWing deploys “in minutes” and is electronically controlled via a handlebar unit, allowing for wind-powered propulsion across a variety of wind angles. When not in use, the whole thing folds into a little bag mounted to a rear rack.
Nifty? Or ridiculous? In the right conditions, we think it looks kind of fun.
New tubeless tyre sealant from Joe’s No-Flats
Joe’s No-Flats has announced a new formulation, dubbed Podium, that has been developed specifically for DH, XC, CX and gravel race days. According to the company, Podium can seal holes and cuts up to 10mm in size over the first 300km of use and is compatible with CO2. No word on pricing at this stage, visit Joe’s No-Flats for more info as it becomes available.
Endura skinsuit too fast for racing
What happens when the UCI bans your product? Promote it. That’s exactly what Endura has done with its Drag2Zero SST skinsuit by enlisting the help of famous boundary pusher Graeme Obree.
Curve Cycling’s Belgie Air ready to land
Curve unveiled its Belgie Air frameset at the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia in April last year, and now the company is taking orders. The new frameset is a variation on the brand’s existing all titanium Belgie road disc frame that was customised in collaboration with Bastion Cycles. As a result, the Belgie Air features an integrated carbon fibre seatpost and 3D-printed titanium topper.
Pricing for the Belgie Air starts at AU$6,999 with a limited production run of 23 framesets. For more information, visit Curve Cycling.
Happy Birthday to …
Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez (41) and one of cycling’s finest domestiques, Markel Irizar (39).
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: An early season Trek-Segafredo team camp. Image by Kristof Ramon.