Chris Boardman agrees that TUE information should be made public in professional sport to help ease the ethical issues in the process
The spotlight has been shone on the TUE process, which allows athletes to take otherwise banned medication to treat an ailment, in recent weeks after several high profile athletes, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, had their medical data leaked by hackers.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Wiggins, who was prescribed a corticosteroid on three occasions to treat allergies, but Boardman feels the process needs to be looked at to ease the ethical dilemmas that have been raised.
“The thing that people have only just touched on is that we’ve got a situation where everybody accepts this is legal and they’re still not happy with it being morally correct. Why is there that big grey area?,” he told Cycling Weekly.
“You’ve got two things straight away. One is making all TUEs public and then you know that whatever you do is in the public eye, which will help massively – across all sports.
“In the professional world, if that’s to do with medical confidentiality then [they should] go round all the pro teams and ask riders if they’re okay with TUEs being public going forward. Then publicise a list of anybody who says no.
“Secondly, if you’ve got a world governing body who is signing off things that are uncomfortable then why are they doing that? Why not tighten it up and make the decision-making harder.”
Boardman confirmed that he was granted one TUE towards the end of his career to treat inflammation on his ankle, which he broke in six places, but says he didn’t end up taking the medication.
He also explained that he requested another TUE to treat osteopenia – a bone density ailment – but the UCI turned this down
“When I had osteopenia I went to see the UCI and showed them my low bone density scan, explained that the treatment for it was testosterone patches, and they said no, which was fair enough,” he said.
Team Sky manager Sir Dave Brailsford said he is looking into publicising TUE information from his team in the future, following the scrutiny on the team’s handling of the Wiggins situation.
“I think it was Jonathan Vaughters who first suggested making them public and it’s a good idea. If [Brailsford] feels the same way, that’s great. He’s definitely in a position to do that. He’s in control of his own team and he can ask the riders why not [make them public].”