Cycling: Bradley Wiggins, corticosteroids and the Loch Ness monster


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Wiggins en 2013 lors de sa victoire sur le Tour de Grande-Bretagne.

At the height of the controversy over the performance of Chris Froome, the Tour of France 2015, the manager team Sky Dave Brailsford had this formula: [Thosewhosuspectusof doping ] had better sit beside the Loch Ness monster and wait. “ This is far from the mists of what appeared Highlands, two months after the fourth victory of Sky in the Tour de France, the most significant evidence of unsportsmanlike practices within the British team. It asks a simple question: Bradley Wiggins has he doped to win on Tour de France in 2012


A group of hackers known as “Fancy Bears” had access to therapeutic exemptions used by some athletes – those who participated in the last Olympics – and published in several waves these documents that allow take prohibits a product without be sanctioned for doping.

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Now one of the most disturbing cases revealed by Fancy Bears’ concerns Bradley Wiggins. Here it is perhaps only one winner of the Tour de France among others. On the other side of the Channel, the child Kilburn, a suburb of London, is a legend of Sports : the most decorated Briton of history Olympic since he won his eighth award in Rio – including five gold. And, of course, the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012 with Sky.

Is there evidence of doping? No. Yes, sir.

Asthma and allergies

One who, at 36, no end of do bid farewell to cycling has, according to documents obtained six TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) since 2008: three AUT were requested when running in Gamin team for use and inhalers fight against his exercise-induced asthma, a common affliction among athletes; and three when he was at Sky for the Kenalog (or Kenacort), and the molecule at barbarous name, triamcinolone acetonide. It was fight allergies to pollen, which he never mentions in his four (!) Autobiographies or in its multiple interviews. Triamcinolone is one of the most powerful steroids, greater than those found in inhalers used by Wiggins Garmin and that does not even require a TUE.

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Wiggins earned the right to be injected three times intramuscularly of Kenalog. A very specific times: just before the Tour de France 2011 and 2012, he was the favorite – it won the second year – and before the Tour of Italy 2013, its main objective of the year.

Even the most loyal supporters of Team Sky who choked as the South African researcher Jeroen Swart or journalist David Walsh, who spent three months in the Sky team 2013 before certifying their honesty. Walsh headlined his column in the Sunday Times (whose owner, Rupert Murdoch, is also the Sky TV platform): “It looks bad, Brad. “ What could translate by ” It looks bad, Brad. “ His judgment: ” The team that wanted washing was whiter than white in the gray area. What they did was legal, but it was not right. “

Bradley Wiggins lors de son attaque sur le secteur de Templeuve, lors de Paris-Roubaix, 12 avril 2015.

That’s the indulgent view. Those who already doubted the methods of the Sky saw it as confirmation that the “marginal gains” and transparency that it has always exercised were only a cloud of smoke for coax Press the pegged doubt pen after years Lance Armstrong. Especially since the team doctor declared in 2013 that it was no question to include in a race a cyclist enjoying a TUE.

The German Jörg Jaksche runner in the 2000s, where blood doping, among others, was prevalent in some teams, immediately quipped: “29 June 2011 26 June 2012 and 2 April 2013 it looks like a big allergy Tours I know this is a big health problem. “

He goes on the site CyclingTips

“To be frank, we used the same excuse. I personally, as many cyclists I know my time. We all said we had the same problem, the same allergy, but it was done to boost . I think many people had suddenly allergies on the Tour. […]

I would say it was a very big aid performance. [Les corticoïdes] are lose weight, increase the powers of recovery and are a powerful painkiller. From my experience I would say that they improve performance between three and five percent. “

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Corticosteroids allowed him to lose one to two kilos in the first week of the Tour, without losing muscle. This is exactly what needed Bradley Wiggins, powerful but too heavy to climb effectively in the first part of his career. Since he stopped to spend the major Tours and regained weight to excel in track cycling, he has not submitted a TUE.

“delicate and complex problem”

For many specialists, corticosteroids are the doping sauce bases. Yet it is very easy to take: this is allowed out of competition. In the race, we must take a massive dose to be above the limits set by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

In this case, simply ask a TUE which until 2015 was approved, in cycling, the only doctor in the International Cycling Union. Which did not seem to move as Bradley Wiggins does not fear that when the pollen was about to dispute a great Tour. It is now a three-person panel that valid TUE from the UCI since the revelation in 2014 of a license expressly validated just before a race, for … Chris Froome.

The abuse of steroids was singled out in a report on doping in cycling, released by the UCI in 2015. You could read several witnesses saying they had turned in order to lose weight without losing muscle. The commission summarized:

“The AUT is a delicate and complex issue. Of respondents report that they are systematically exploited by some teams and are even part of their doping program. A team doctor said he thought that the TUE system was regularly diverted, particularly corticosteroids. “

Of the 18 teams at the highest world level, only seven are members of the Movement for a credible cycling (MPCC), a group that has made the fight against steroids his battle horse, by imposing more rules stricter than the World Anti-doping code. Sky has refused to integrate the MPCC.

The peloton was remarkably quiet since the beginning of the Wiggins case, as so often when one of its headliners was concerned – the fear is that the public automatically associates the alleged cheater to all riders . Dutchman Tom Dumoulin was distinguished by estimating in the Dutch press the matter “stank” and if you were you treat with a powerful molecule it was more reasonable not run for several weeks.

Former doctor Wiggins Garmin, Prentice Steffen (now at Cannondale-Drapac), told the BBC remain skeptical as to catch calendar “this big dose of corticosteroid to long-term effect, intramuscularly “:” It does not seem correct to a health and sporting point of view. “ Jonathan Vaughters, former manager of that team has also put his two cents: ” The thing is, when we say that “no rules were violated” by talking of a TUE is that this is only true if the pattern you specified on the TUE is real 100%. “

As often when a controversy regarding the Sky, manager Dave Brailsford – a recognized figure in Britain – waited in silence as the bellows falls. Except it is not fell. He had face cameras Monday, September 26, to explain he knew, saw nothing in fault these AUT and a specialist outside the team recommended the Kenalog Bradley Wiggins.

“What the riders are in good health is important to us. And that piece of paper says “yes, this treatment is appropriate” “ has he told the British press .

“fantastic shape”

The day before, after ten days of silence, Bradley Wiggins was the guest of the issue of Sunday morning on BBC after have spurned requests from print . He could find better ally than the prestigious interviewer policy Andrew Marr, with limited knowledge on the subject, which has not pointed out the failings of his reasoning nor asked questions burning the lips of the British sports press.

Wiggins did not convince anyone at the time to explain how he could have write in his autobiography, he had bites in horror and he had never sustained injection except a vaccine; or why he had changed corticosteroid to treat his asthma between Garmin and Sky teams; or why it was said “in fantastic shape” on the eve of the Tour de France 2012, three days after taking corticosteroids for treating acute rhinitis.

His sentence strongest, in this exchange of nearly seven minutes, was as follows:

“It was not for get an unfair advantage, but for me put on an equal footing vis-à-vis others. “

Bradley Wiggins, yet passionate cycling history, had forgotten that this sentence was not recommended for riders suspected of doping. In 2013, squeezed into too small a chair in her living room, before the cameras of American television, Lance Armstrong and défaussait: “I looked at the definition of cheat and it speaks “get an edge over a rival or opponent.” I did not consider [le dopage] that way. For me, we were on an equal footing. “

The analogy is even more unfortunate that it is the same product, the Kenacort that Lance Armstrong tested positive on the Tour de France 1999, as revealed World . A backdated therapeutic exemption allowed to bury the case.



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