Froome de­nies dop­ing at Sky

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

THREE-TIME Tour de France win­ner Chris Froome has said he was never of­fered or ad­min­is­tered the pow­er­ful cor­ti­cos­teroid tri­am­ci­nolone by Team Sky and was not aware of other rid­ers in the Bri­tish out­fit tak­ing it.

His for­mer team mate and fel­low Bri­ton Bradley Wig­gins, who won the Tour in 2012, was legally given tri­am­ci­nolone shortly be­fore the 2011 and 2012 Tours and the 2013 Giro d’Italia to treat pollen al­ler­gies that ag­gra­vated asthma.

Wig­gins was al­lowed to take tri­am­ci­nolone af­ter being cleared by cy­cling’s world gov­ern­ing body (UCI) un­der a ther­a­peu­tic use ex­emp­tion (TUE), which allows ath­letes to take oth­er­wise-banned sub­stances to treat med­i­cal con­di­tions.

Dur­ing an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by UK Anti- Dop­ing (UKAD) into al­le­ga­tions of pos­si­ble wrong­do­ing by the Bri­tish team, it was dis­closed ear­lier this year that 55 doses of triam- cinolone had been or­dered by Team Sky be­tween 2010 and 2013.

How­ever Froome, who like Wig­gins had his med­i­cal records, in­clud­ing the use of TUEs, made pub­lic by Rus­sian cy­ber hack­ers Fancy Bears last year, said he had never used tri­am­ci­nolone.

“I can only speak about my ex­pe­ri­ences in the team at the time,” Froome, who is fo­cused on try­ing to win a fourth Tour de France at next month’s race, told The Guardian. “I cer­tainly haven’t been of­fered tri­am­ci­nolone in the team.”

Team Sky has been un­der a cloud over the con­tents of a ‘jiffy bag’ de­liv­ered to the team’s then doc­tor Richard Free­man at the 2011 Cri­terium du Dauphine.

A re­port al­leged it was tri­am­ci­nolone, although team prin­ci­pal Dave Brails­ford said the pack­age con­tained the le­gal flu treat­ment Fluimu­cil.

Brails­ford told a par­lia- men­tary com­mit­tee in De­cem­ber that “mis­takes were made” in Team Sky’s record-keep­ing but he has al­ways de­nied that the team was in­volved in any wrong­do­ing.

The saga is likely to drag on through­out the Tour and 32- year- old Froome, who is ne­go­ti­at­ing a new deal with Sky, where he is un­der con­tract un­til the end of 2018, said it was an un­nec­es­sary dis­trac­tion.

“Hon­estly, I haven’t given it much thought,” he said. “It’s not some­thing I’ve gone and done my own in­ves­ti­ga­tion on. I’ve been so fo­cused on get­ting ready for the Tour.

“I can only speak about my ex­pe­ri­ence in the team. It hasn’t been my ex­pe­ri­ence that tri­am­ci­nolone has been handed out freely.”

Team Sky have said that only a small amount of the tri­am­ci­nolone was ad­min­is­tered to rid­ers un­der TUEs with the rest being used to treat staff mem­bers. – Reuters

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