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DOPING IN SPORT

Wiggins gives new explanation of TUE use

Bradley Wiggins defended his medical records again on Friday amid a row over the British cyclist's history of therapeutic use exemptions.

Wiggins gives new explanation of TUE use
HANDOUT REUTERS

Wiggins defends TUE usage

Bradley Wiggins defended his medical records again on Friday amid a row over his history of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE).

Wiggins has been in the spotlight since leaked medical files showed the five-time Olympic champion had been granted a TUE by cycling authorities to use the powerful, synthetic 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.

Asthma condition

Wiggins said he needed the drug to help control his asthma. But fellow rider Tom Dumoulin told Dutch newspaper De Limburger it was “very strange” Wiggins had received the injections immediately before three Grand Tours.

Triamcinolone has also been used as a doping agent by riders, including Lance Armstrong, and is believed to help athletes lose weight, combat fatigue and aid recovery. Wiggins explained on Friday he understood why, on the basis of the leaked data, concerns had been raised regarding his medical history.

“Without all the context of someone's history then I could see that on paper maybe, especially the way some of it has been reported”, he told the Guardian, having previously given an interview to the BBC. “It was for a very specific thing ... to treat something that was historically a problem for me and could be quite a serious problem for me”.

TUEs authorized

Hacking group 'Fancy Bears', which is believed to be operating out of Russia, has been leaking medical data about famous athletes after targeting records held by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Wiggins's TUEs were approved by the UCI, cycling's world governing body, and there is no suggestion either he or Team Sky, for whom he was riding at the time, have contravened anti-doping rules.

However, both Sky and Wiggins have come under scrutiny given the British team's much-trumpeted 'zero tolerance' policy towards doping and the rider's criticisms of drug cheats in his autobiographies.

Wiggins's former Sky team-mate Chris Froome, a three-time Tour de France winner who finished runner-up to his fellow British rider in the 2012 edition, came under fire after it was revealed he received a TUE for a steroid to treat a chest infection prior to winning the 2014 Tour de Romandie. “I saw the hysteria that caused and I understand in the post-Armstrong era, but what I don't understand is that you've automatically just assumed that this was a performance enhancer”.

Wiggins, who in 2012 became the first man to win the Tour and Olympic gold in the same year, said he had not previously made his TUE record public because he did not want to be seen to be making excuses. He added that inconsistencies in dates on his medical forms were due to clerical errors.