LONDON (Reuters) - Bradley Wiggins has denied that Team Sky’s former doctor Geert Leinders, a convicted drug cheat, was involved in the decision to seek approval for his legitimate use of a banned steroid.
Britain’s multiple Olympic gold medalist and former Tour de France winner also tried to clear up confusion over comments in his 2012 autobiography that he adhered to cycling’s “no needles” policy even though stolen medical records showed he received injections of triamcinolone, a prohibited substance.
Hackers published the medical records of Wiggins and other sportsmen and sportswomen online on Wednesday after infiltrating the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) database.
Data showed Wiggins was given three Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to use triamcinolone before the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France races and 2013 Giro d‘Italia.
“Brad has no direct link to Geert Leinders,” a spokesman for Wiggins said in a statement on Saturday.
”Leinders was an ‘on race’ doctor for Team Sky for a short period and so was occasionally present at races dealing with injuries sustained whilst racing such as colds, bruises etc.
“Leinders had no part in Brad’s TUE application. Brad’s medical assessments from 2011-15 were processed by the official Team Sky doctor and were verified by independent specialists to follow WADA, UCI (International Cycling Union) and BC (British Cycling) guidelines.”
The Belgian was employed as a consultant team doctor by Sky in 2011 and 2012 until his name appeared in the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation into disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Leinders received a life ban after a probe into Dutch outfit Rabobank, the team he worked with from 2002-09, showed he falsified medical records to get banned stimulants.
The spokesman also sought to explain Wiggins’ comments on injections.
In his 2012 autobiography, the rider wrote: “I’ve never had an injection, apart from vaccinations, and on occasion I’ve been put on a drip”.
However, his medical records show he applied for and received injections to treat a long-standing asthma problem.
“Brad’s passing comment regarding needles in the 2012 book referred to the historic and illegal practice of intravenous injections of performance-enhancing substances, which was the subject of a law change by the UCI in 2011,” said the spokesman.
“The triamcinolone injection that is referred to in the WADA leaks is an intramuscular treatment for asthma and is fully approved by the sport’s governing bodies. Brad stands by his comment concerning the use of illegal intravenous needle injections.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Tony Jimenez