London, Sept 25, 2016 (AFP) – One of Bradley Wiggins’ major rivals said Sunday the drug situation surrounding the British cycling great “stinks”.
Wiggins has been in the spotlight since leaked medical data showed the multiple Olympic champion had been granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) by cycling authorities for the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone, which he was permitted to take just days before the 2012 Tour de France, which he won, as well as the 2011 Tour and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Wiggins said he needed the drug to help control his asthma.
But Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin, quoted in the Mail on Sunday, said it was ‘strange’ that Wiggins had received the injections immediately before three Grand Tours.
“And injecting?” said the Dutch Olympic silver medallist. “So then you have very bad asthma.
“It’s not something they do with normal asthmatics, let alone athletes who only have exercise-induced asthma. Apparently Wiggins’ injection worked for weeks — so in my opinion you should be out of competition for weeks. It stinks.”
Wiggins denied trying to gain an “unfair advantage” in a pre-recorded interview with BBC television broadcast Sunday.
“I’ve been a life-long sufferer of asthma and I went to my team doctor at the time and we went, in turn, to a specialist to see if there’s anything else we could do to cure these problems,” Wiggins said.
“And he said ‘yeah, there’s something you can do but you’re going to need authorization from cycling’s governing body’.
“You have to show and provide evidence from a specialist that they will then scrutinize with three independent doctors and authorize you to take this product. If one of those three doctors says no, you get declined.
“This was to cure a medical condition. This wasn’t about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage.
“This was about putting myself back on a level playing-field in order to compete at the highest level,” the five-time Olympic champion added.
A cyber espionage group called “Fancy Bears”, which is believed to be Russian, has been leaking medical data about famous athletes after targeting records held by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
American tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, American gymnast Simone Biles and Wiggins’s Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome have also been the subject of leaks.
The targeted athletes have been revealed to have received TUEs for the use of substances that would usually contravene anti-doping rules.
TUEs can be issued to athletes who have an illness or condition that requires the use of normally prohibited medication. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by any of the athletes.