Bradley Wiggins: I did not seek unfair advantage with steroid injection ahead of Tour de France

Joe Hall
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Bradley Wiggins Andrew Marr steroid questioning
Wiggins: "This was about putting myself back on a level playing field" (Source: BBC)

Bradley Wiggins has said that he in no way was looking for an unfair advantage by taking the steroid triamcinolone for allergies and asthma issues ahead of his victorious 2012 Tour de France race.

In a pre-recorded interview with Andrew Marr which will be broadcast on the BBC today, Wiggins said he was beset by bad breathing problems in the run up to the race and was recommended by Team Sky to seek a therapeutic use exemption [TUE] for the steroid to treat the issue.

Read more: Chris Froome says he has "no issues" with leak of his and Bradley Wiggins' medical records by Russian hackers

The five-time Olympic gold medallist's application for the TUE, revealed by Russian hackers of World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) files, have been questioned by cycling figures including his former doctor at Team Garmin who said "it doesn't look good" for the Team Sky racer.

In response, Wiggins has told Marr that the use of triamcinolone was simply to tackle his asthma.

"It [triamcinolone] was prescribed for allergies and respiratory problems," said Wiggins. "I've been a lifelong sufferer of asthma, and I went to my team doctor at the time and we went — in turn went to a specialist to see if there's anything else we could do to cure these problems. And he in turn said 'yeah, there's something you can do but you're going to need authorisation from cycling's governing body.'

"You have to show and provide evidence from a specialist that — that they will then scrutinise with three independent doctors and authorise you to take this product. So if one of those three doctors says no, you don't — you get declined.

"This was to cure a medical condition. This wasn't about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage, this was about putting myself back on a level playing field in order to compete at the highest level."

Wiggins also explained why he wrote in his 2012 autobiography that he abided by a "no needles" policy and had never used injections.

"Even with the needle comments that I made at that time, in 2012, right at the height of Lance Armstrong and just before the crash...'have you ever used needles?' It was always a loaded question with regards to doping," said the 36-year-old.

"Intravenous injections of iron, EPO etc, no one ever asked the question, have you ever had an injection by a medical professional to treat or cure a medical condition?

"At that period of time it was very much with a doping emphasis in the question."

When challenged by Marr on Wiggins' specifically saying he'd only ever had injections for vaccinations, Wiggins responded by saying that the book was written by a cycling journalist (William Fotheringham) rather than himself.

"I wasn't writing the book," Wiggins told the BBC host. "I was writing it with a cycling journalist who's very knowledgeable on the sport and had lived through the whole era of the Lance Armstrong era and the doping era."

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