One of British cycling great Bradley Wiggins’s former team doctors has expressed his “surprise” at the decision to allow him to use a triamcinolone ahead of three major races.
Prentice Steffen questioned the move by the International Cycling Union to grant Wiggins a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) 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.
Steffen was multiple Olympic champion Wiggins’s doctor at Garmin Slipstream, with whom he finished fourth in the 2009 Tour de France before the Briton joined Team Sky.
Wiggins’s TUE history was made public last week when his medical records were leaked.
Steffen told the BBC’s Newsnight programme on Friday the leaked details of Wiggins’s TUEs did not “look good”.
“I was surprised to see there were TUEs documented for intramuscular triamcinolone just before three major events — two Tours de France and one Tour d’Italia,” Steffen said.
“You do have to think it is kind of coincidental that a big dose of intramuscular long-acting corticosteroids would be needed at that … exact time before the most important race of the season.
“I would say certainly now in retrospect it doesn’t look good, it doesn’t look right from a health or sporting perspective.”
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.
Wiggins requested TUEs in order to use triamcinolone to treat his asthma.
A spokesperson for Wiggins, 36, said: “There’s nothing new here. Everyone knows Brad suffers from asthma.
“His medical treatment is BC- (British Cycling) and UCI – (International Cycling Union) approved and like all Team GB athletes he follows WADA regulations to the letter.
“The leak of these records is an attempt to undermine the credibility of WADA and that’s something for them to deal with.”
Wiggins will personally address the controversy for the first time when he appears on BBC television on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse