Team Sky boss defends Wiggins’ use of drug

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Bradley Wiggins: ‘This was about putting myself back on a level playing field’

Sir Bradley Wiggins’ use of a banned steroid before races has been defended by Sir Dave Brailsford, with the Team Sky boss saying they “do not cross the line” over performance-enhancing drugs.

Britain’s most decorated Olympian took anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone for allergies and respiratory issues.

The cyclist said he sought therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to “put himself back on a level playing field”.

TUEs allow the use of banned substances if athletes have genuine medical need.

“It was not being used to enhance performance,” Brailsford told BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

“I have known Bradley a long time and he is an asthma sufferer and he has struggled with allergies for as long as I have known him.

“I know that at the time there was a recommendation to see a specialist, he went to see a specialist and was then given permission by the authorities.

“I trust and believe in the integrity of that process.”


Sir Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France

Brailsford, 52, said Team Sky are reviewing their policies about the disclosure of a rider’s use of TUEs.

Brailsford also said:

  • He was aware at the time of what Wiggins was taking;
  • He has complete trust in Team Sky’s doctors;
  • Given the information he had at that time, he would make the same decision now;
  • He does not believe that Wiggins’ or Team Sky’s reputations have been tainted.

Wiggins’ use of the substance has come under scrutiny following revelations made by Russian computer hackers known as Fancy Bears last week.

The details were revealed after the group accessed the private medical data of some of the world’s leading athletes from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

Wiggins’ TUEs were approved by British authorities and cycling’s world governing body the UCI.

There is no suggestion that either the 36-year-old or Team Sky, his former team, have broken any rules.

Wiggins took triamcinolone shortly before the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Questions have been raised over why Wiggins apparently did not need the drug before 2011, or after 2013, with Dr Prentice Steffen, who was team doctor at Wiggins’ former team Garmin Slipstream, telling BBC Newsnight he was “surprised” he was prescribed the drug before major races.

Brailsford added: “Lots of TUEs in sport, in general, are for asthma sufferers, pollen and allergic reactions – and the whole nature of that is you don’t wait until you are really suffering from asthma. In this case, I think it is a similar situation.

“If someone has a medical need – and this isn’t to enhance performances – a medical need which is recognised by a specialist, recognised by the doping authorities who grant the permission to use that for that particular need then I think there is integrity in that process and trust in that process.”

More to follow.

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