(Reuters) - Bradley Wiggins’ therapeutic use exemption which allowed him to use an otherwise banned drug was ethically wrong, fellow cyclist Nicolas Roche has said, while calling for a revision to the system as TUEs are granted too easily under current regulations.
Wiggins has come under scrutiny since Russian hackers ‘Fancy Bears’ revealed he had applied for a TUE to use a controversial corticosteroid prior to his 2012 Tour de France victory and two other road races in 2011 and 2013 when he rode for Team Sky.
“When WADA was hacked the first time and before the Wiggins story, there is a major problem with TUEs. There is a problem with the actual system,” Team Sky’s Roche told cyclingnews.com.
“Again, you can do whatever you want against Wiggins but unfortunately, as far as ethically it’s wrong, he is within the rules. It is wrong that these rules are like that.
“That’s where the main problem is. It’s a problem not just in cycling but in all sport.”
Wiggins did not break any anti-doping rules and the 36-year-old and Team Sky general manager David Brailsford, also a former British Cycling performance director, have denied any wrongdoing, insisting the TUEs were medically necessary.
“To be honest, this year I was sick three times and I never needed a TUE, so there is a real problem on the easiness of getting TUEs and how athletes can abuse them,” the 32-year-old Irish rider, who is joining BMC Racing in 2017, added.
“I think if you work on that then you have a solution. But the problem is much more than Wiggins, it’s the whole system that needs to be revised.”
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien