London, Sept 27, 2016 (AFP) – Tour de France champion Chris Froome has responded to the drug-taking controversy surrounding Bradley Wiggins by claiming sport’s anti-doping rules are open to abuse.
Froome took to Twitter to vent about the issues with doping controls after two officially approved Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) earlier in his career were revealed by hackers earlier this month.
Froome, who won his third Tour de France title in four years in July, said:
“I take my position in sport very seriously and I know that I have to not only abide by the rules, but also go above and beyond that to set a good example both morally and ethically.
“It is clear that the TUE (therapeutic use exemption) system is open to abuse and I believe that this is something the UCI (cycling’s governing body) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) need to urgently address.
“At the same time, there are athletes who not only abide by the rules that are in place, but also those of fair play.
“I have never had a ‘win at all costs’ approach in this regard. I am not looking to push the boundaries of the rules.
“I believe that is something that athletes need to take responsibility for themselves, until more stringent protocols can be put in place.”
Athletes are able to take some banned substances as medication if they are cleared by the authorities and Froome said he has never pushed the boundaries of what is allowed.
British star Wiggins, a five-time Olympic champion, received three TUEs for intramuscular injections of the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone on the eve of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Triamcinolone has been described by several former dopers as one of the most effective performance-enhancing drugs and it is believed to help athletes lose weight without losing power, postpone fatigue and aid recovery.
The disgraced Lance Armstrong tested positive for it at the 1999 Tour but used a bogus TUE to avoid an anti-doping violation.
Wiggins, a life-long asthma sufferer with an allergy to pollen, hasn’t broken any doping rules and told the BBC on Sunday that he was not seeking “an unfair advantage” when he used the drug, but was trying to “level the playing field so he could compete at the highest level”.