Wig­gins un­der pres­sure in drugs probe: Re­port

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON:

Bradley Wig­gins is fac­ing fresh ques­tions about his med­i­cal his­tory af­ter Bri­tain’s Daily Mail re­ported he was at the cen­tre of an in­quiry by United King­dom Anti-Dop­ing.

The Mail said UKAD wanted to ques­tion him and his Team Sky bosses over a med­i­cal pack­age de­liv­ered to the Bri­tish out­fit ahead of the 2011 Tour de France.

A UKAD state­ment is­sued late Thurs­day said: “UK Anti-Dop­ing is in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­le­ga­tion of wrong­do­ing within cycling. In or­der to pro­tect the in­tegrity of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, we will not com­ment fur­ther.”

Bri­tish cycling great Wig­gins has been in the spot­light since leaked med­i­cal data showed the five-time Olympic cham­pion had been granted a ther­a­peu­tic use ex­emp­tion (TUE) by cycling au­thor­i­ties 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.

Wig­gins said he needed the drug to help con­trol his asthma. But Dutch rider Tom Du­moulin told Nether­lands news­pa­per De Lim­burger it was “strange” Wig­gins had re­ceived the in­jec­tions im­me­di­ately be­fore three Grand Tours. Tri­am­ci­nolone has also been used as a dop­ing agent by rid­ers, in­clud­ing no­to­ri­ous drugs cheat Lance Arm­strong, and is be­lieved to help ath­letes lose weight, com­bat fa­tigue and aid re­cov­ery.

The Mail said that while Bri­tish Cycling has not iden­ti­fied the sub­stance in the pack­age, it has in­di­cated it did not con­tain tri­am­ci­nolone. Team Sky re­sponded to the Mail’s story by promis­ing to in­ves­ti­gate the claims, while in­sist­ing there was no rea­son to sus­pect foul play. “Team Sky was con­tacted by the Daily Mail re­gard­ing an al­le­ga­tion of wrong­do­ing,” the state­ment read.

“We take any is­sues such as this very se­ri­ously and im­me­di­ately con­ducted an in­ter­nal re­view to es­tab­lish the facts. We are con­fi­dent there has been no wrong­do­ing. “We in­formed Bri­tish Cycling of the al­le­ga­tion and asked them to con­tact UKAD, who we will con­tinue to li­aise with. “Team Sky is com­mit­ted to clean com­pe­ti­tion. Our po­si­tion on anti-dop­ing is well known and we 100 per cent stand by that.” Wig­gins, 36, said last week 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 BBC tele­vi­sion.

“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.” 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 An­ti­Dop­ing 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 run­nerup to his fel­low Bri­tish rider in the 2012 edi­tion, was crit­i­cised af­ter it was re­vealed he re­ceived a TUE for a steroid to treat a chest in­fec­tion prior to win­ning the 2014 Tour de Ro­mandie.—AFP

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