A British parliamentary report has sharply criticized Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins for using permitted medication to enhance his performance at the 2012 Tour de France. Sky and Wiggins have rejected the criticism.
The report published on Monday by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, said Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins, had crossed an "ethical line" by using corticosteroids to treat a medical condition during the 2012 Tour.
In preparing the "Combatting doping in sport" report, the committee looked into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports in general, but also focused in particular on cycling and Wiggins' use of triamcinolone.
"We believe that this powerful corticosteroid was being used to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France," the report said, citing an unnamed source.
"The purpose of this was not to treat medical need, but to improve his power to weight ratio ahead of the race."
Prior to the 2012 Tour de France, which he won, Wiggins used triamcinolone after receiving a therapeutic exemption to use the drug, which is used to treat allergies and respiratory issues.
While saying that by doing so, both the team and the cyclist has crossed an "ethical line," the report also acknowledged the fact that the move "does not constitute a violation of the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code."
Wiggins and Team Sky respond
Both Wiggins and his former team were quick to reject the findings of the report.
"I strongly refute the claim that any drug was used without medical need. I hope to have my say in the next few days & put my side across," Wiggins said via his Twitter account.
For its part, Team Sky said it was "surprised and disappointed" that the committee had chosen to present an anonymous claim in this way.
The parliamentary committee also looked into reports about a mysterious package delivered to Wiggins and Team Sky during the French road race Criterium du Dauphine in 2011. Last November, Britain's anti-doping agency (UKAD) closed a probe into that incident, saying it could not prove that the package contained the legal substance fluimucil, as stated by the team, nor triamcinolone, as claimed in a report by the Daily Mail newspaper. Monday's report said it also didn't know what the parcel contained, but that "the whole story of the package seems implausible."
Apart from being a Tour de France winner, Wiggins is Britain's most decorated Olympian with eight medals, five of them gold.
pfd/jh (dpa, Reuters, AFP)