Wig­gins must resolve steroid con­tro­versy

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Five-time Olympic cycling cham­pion Bradley Wig­gins has to clear up the ques­tion marks re­main­ing over why he was granted ther­a­peu­tic use ex­emp­tions (TUEs) for a steroid, his for­mer team-mate Chris Froome says. Wig­gins, 36, had his med­i­cal records leaked by pre­sumed Russian hack­ers The Fancy Bears ear­lier this year. They re­vealed he’d been granted the TUEs to take the banned tri­am­ci­nolone to treat a pollen al­lergy in­clud­ing just be­fore the 2012 Tour de France when he went onto be­come Bri­tain’s first win­ner.

Froome, who was his faith­ful lieu­tenant on Team Sky that year and has won it him­self three times since, told The Times that Wig­gins’ de­nials since and re­sponses to the ques­tions have not re­solved the mat­ter. “Peo­ple ask me, ‘Do I think it’s tar­nished his (Wig­gins) im­age?’ I cer­tainly think it’s raised a few ques­tions, that’s for sure,” he told the pa­per by phone from Aus­tralia.

“A lot of peo­ple have said it’s taken the shine off his per­for­mances back in 2012.”

Kenya-born Froome, who will at­tempt the rare feat of do­ing a Grand Tour dou­ble next year hav­ing failed in his bid this sea­son, said he still did not know what was in a pack­age de­liv­ered to Team Sky dur­ing the 2011 Cri­terium du Dauphine, which Wig­gins won.

“I am com­pletely in the dark on that,” he says. “I have asked the ques­tion. Hope­fully we will find out at the end of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Those are ques­tions for Brad to an­swer about what hap­pened back then. In terms of who did what at the time, I still don’t know all the an­swers my­self.” Froome, 31, says he couldn’t fault the present Team Sky regime for be­ing to­tally trans­par­ent and felt this had fil­tered through to spec­ta­tors at the Tour de France whose at­ti­tude had changed be­tween the an­gry and hos­tile one of 2015 to­wards him and his team-mates and this year. “I can only deal with what I do know. From what I have seen for my­self [at Sky], it’s been com­pletely above board. It’s been clean. I’ve laid all my cards on the ta­ble. Ev­ery­thing has been out there for a while in terms of my TUEs,” he said.

“We have worked re­ally hard to try to show we are be­ing as trans­par­ent as pos­si­ble. I feel we have made a lot of head­way this year, es­pe­cially on the roads of the Tour.

“I felt a gen­uine change in men­tal­ity of the French fans, a much warmer re­cep­tion than it has been in the past.” —

Chris Froome

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