Tour de France champion Chris Froome insists that it is the responsibility of riders themselves to ensure they are not bending rules on controversial therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs).
Questions have been posed to Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky after it emerged that he was granted a TUE for strong medication shortly before his historic 2012 Tour de France win.
Wiggins has maintained his innocence, saying he was legitimately prescribed the drugs to combat allergies, while boss Sir Dave Brailsford has defended Team Sky’s conduct regarding TUEs.
Froome, who has also denied abusing TUEs, says the current rules are in need of reform but that sportspeople have a moral duty to uphold the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
“I take my position in sport very seriously and I know that I have to not only abide by the rules, but also go above and beyond that to set a good example both morally and ethically,” he said.
“It is clear that the TUE system is open to abuse and I believe that this is something the UCI [cycling’s world governing body] and Wada [World Anti-Doping Agency] need to urgently address.
“At the same time, there are athletes who not only abide by the rules that are in place, but also those of fair play. I have never had a ‘win at all costs’ approach in this regard.
“I am not looking to push the boundaries of the rules. I believe that is something that athletes need to take responsibility for themselves, until more stringent protocols can be put in place.”
Froome, who rode alongside Wiggins for Sky during that 2012 Tour, was issued TUEs for anti-inflammatories during the 2013 and 2014 season.
Like Wiggins, his records were published when Russian hackers calling themselves the Fancy Bears stole and leaked data from Wada on competitors at this summer’s Rio Olympics.
He responded to the leak by saying he had “openly discussed my TUEs” and had “no issue” with it.