Bradley Wiggins has responded to statements made in the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee report into ‘Combatting Doping in Sport’, which states that Team Sky “crossed an ethical line” when it gave Wiggins triamcinolone.
Wiggins was given a therapeutic use exemption certificate (TUE) for the use of the corticosteroid triamcinolone, including ahead of the 2012 Tour de France, which he went on to win for Team Sky.
The Committee’s report concluded that “the purpose of this [triamcinolone] was not to treat medical need, but to improve his power to weight ratio ahead of the race”.
It continued: “The application for the TUE for the triamcinolone for Bradley Wiggins, ahead of the 2012 Tour de France, also meant that he benefitted from the performance enhancing properties of this drug during the race. This does not constitute a violation of the WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] code, but it does cross the ethical line that David Brailsford [Team Sky principal] says he himself drew for Team Sky.
“In this case, and contrary to the testimony of David Brailsford in front of the Committee, we believe that drugs were being used by Team Sky, within the WADA rules, to enhance the performance of riders, and not just to treat medical need.”
Wiggins said that he was “sad” about the accusations and that he refutes that the drug was administered to him without a medical need.
“I find it so sad that accusations can be made, where people can be accused of things they have never done which are then regarded as facts,” Wiggins wrote on Twitter.
“I strongly refute the claim that any drug was used without medical need. I hope to have my say in the next few days and put my side across.”
Team Sky came under heavy criticism in the Committee’s report, which dealt with the ‘mystery package’ delivered to the team during the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. The team says that this contained fluimucil medication for Wiggins, but the Committee says that the lack of ‘reliable evidence’ meant that it could not confirm its contents.
Team Sky issued their own statement in the wake of the report’s publication, saying that they take “full responsibility for mistakes that were made” but that they “strongly refute” widespread use of triamcinolone.
Sky’s statement read: “The Report details again areas in the past where we have already acknowledged that the Team fell short. We take full responsibility for mistakes that were made. We wrote to the Committee in March 2017 setting out in detail the steps we took in subsequent years to put them right, including, for example, the strengthening of our medical record keeping.
“However, the Report also makes the serious claim that medication has been used by the Team to enhance performance. We strongly refute this. The report also includes an allegation of widespread triamcinolone use by Team Sky riders ahead of the 2012 Tour de France. Again, we strongly refute this allegation.
“We are surprised and disappointed that the Committee has chosen to present an anonymous and potentially malicious claim in this way, without presenting any evidence or giving us an opportunity to respond. This is unfair both to the Team and to the riders in question.
“We take our responsibility to the sport seriously. We are committed to creating an environment at Team Sky where riders can perform to the best of their ability, and do it clean.”
Separately, Team Sky is currently awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) into an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol returned by Chris Froome during the 2017 Vuelta a España.