Bradley Wiggins has denied that he and Team Sky “crossed the ethical line” during his career, after the 2012 Tour de France winner and his former team were accused of using the corticosteroid triamcinolone “to enhance the performance of riders, and not just to treat medical need” by a parliamentary report.
Wiggins told the BBC on Monday that he “100 per cent” did not cheat and that the Combatting Doping in Sport report published by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee was “malicious” and was an attempt to “smear” him.
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“Not at any time in my career did we cross the ethical line,” Wiggins said. “I refute that 100 per cent. This is malicious, this is someone trying to smear me.
“[Cycling] is the most scrutinised sport in the world. I can’t control what people are going to think but for some people, whatever you do it is not going to be enough. I just don’t know any more in this sport – you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
“The widespread effect it has had on the family is just horrific. I am having to pick up the pieces with the kids – I would not wish it on anyone.”
Aside from an appearance in 2016 on the Andrew Marr show, Wiggins, who retired from racing at the end of 2016, has remained silent on the issue of the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) he received for triamcinolone, which he and Sky say he used to treat allergies and asthma symptoms before the 2011 and 2012 Tours and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The DCMS report on Monday claimed that the committee had “confidential material from a well-placed and respected source” that claimed Sky used corticosteroids as a performance enhancer with Wiggins and a group of other riders. Team Sky and Wiggins have denied this claim.
The 37-year-old said the report was “a complete mess of innuendo and rumour” and that the its sources should “go on the record.”
“It [the TUE] was completely under medical need and this whole thing has been a complete mess of innuendo and rumour,” Wiggins said. “Nothing has been substantiated and I am having to deal with the fall-out of that now – which is almost impossible. How do I do it?
“There have been no medical records to back that up or substantiate what’s been said. So I am kind of left in the middle here now, trying to pick up the pieces.
“Who are these sources? Come out. Go on record. This is serious stuff.”
Wiggins also addressed the investigation into the mysterious medical jiffy bag delivered to Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné, of which the report was unable to conclude the contents.
Sky boss Dave Brailsford claimed in front of the committee that the package, delivered to the Sky bus from Manchester, contained the legal decongestant, fluimicil. The report said it could not find “reliable evidence” to back-up the claim, while Wiggins says he was unaware of the package or its contents until he was contacted by the Daily Mail in late 2016.
“God knows, your guess was as good as mine,” Wiggins said when asked about the contents of the package.
“I was doing the Dauphiné, I was leading the Dauphiné, I won the Dauphiné. The first time I became aware of a package was when the Daily Mail contacted me in October 2016.
“But the way it has been reported is as if I have ordered this package and I am waiting for DHL to deliver it for me, and I have got to sign for it, ‘thanks for the medical package’.
“I don’t run the team, I don’t run the logistics of the team, I was busy doing my job that I was paid to do.”
Wiggins confirmed that he was treated with fluimicil after the race’s final stage with a nebuliser rather than an injection, claiming if he had used the latter it would have shown up in anti-doping controls the following week in the British National Championships road race, which he won.
Wiggins reiterated when asked if he had ever cheated that the claims were “absurd” and said that it was “the worst thing to be accused of.”
“100 per cent, never [cheated] throughout my career, no. I have worked and had the passion I have had for 15-20 years and to do that to the sport? It’s just absurd.
“These allegations, it’s the worst thing to be accused of, I have said that before, but it is also the hardest thing to prove you haven’t done.”