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  • NYCRider

    Not that the answer absolves anyone of anything, but are there confirmed dosages for these three specific TUEs? And how do they relate to admitted dopers who were using them in conjunction with EPO etc? Someone asked the same question in the comments of a related article in here, but didn’t seem like anyone responded with anything factual.

    • Shane Stokes

      The dosages were 40mg…similar to what Jorg Jaksche said that others used in the past

    • ebbe

      It might also be good to mention that one granted TUE for a certain dosage does not “prove” there was only one injection. Injections can basically be repeated (possibly with smaller dosages on the follow up injections, so as to be on the safe side) under that one TUE for as long as the TUE is valid. This also does not prove there were more injections, but it is possible to do so under the current system. Yet another reason to have a long good look at the current system.

      • Dave

        Each of these TUEs authorised only a single injection, and appropriately had an immediate expiry.


        I fully believe that would have been followed, going on the way that Team Sly have been very careful to make sure everything can be justified as “treatments” rather than straying into the “real doping” territory inhabited by devious Italians and Spaniards.

        • ebbe

          It would seem that way if you only look at the dates you posted, but in fact the dates are all over the place (one issued before a doctor even looked at him) which is one of the issues people are grilling Sky about

          If you trust that everything was done according to the books, then sure, you’ll trust that everything was done according to the books. If you dig deeper you’ll see lots of inconsistencies

          • Shane Stokes

            It’s true; Joerg Jaksche also said that there is no real way to check if extra injections are given due to the way that the testing is done. And Conor McGrane said that the traces in the system change depending on stress levels, time of day etc. So it’s possible to get a TUE for one injection at the start of the Tour, but to be able to sneak in other injections during the race

  • Allez Rouleur

    This is looking worse and worse for Sideburns and all of Sky, including Froome. Ah well, back to enjoying the spectacle of pro racing and giving up any hope the peloton is getting cleaner…it seems like USPS all over again. Shame.

    • NYCRider

      Agreed about Wiggins and Sky – will be practically impossible to ever fully repair the damage to their reputation – and deservedly so it would seem at this point.

      But Froome? Obviously he would have preferred for this not to have happened. And the association with Sky isn’t ideal. But I think he’s come out of it as well as he possibly could have. And no, maybe he can’t claim to be whiter than white, but he’s shown greater transparency, had TUE’s for a less “extreme” drug, didn’t use them on the cusp/during GTs, and lastly could have applied for a TUE but didn’t in 2015.

      And for the record, up until recently I would have definitely considered myself Team Wiggo, and have little love for Froome

      • J Evans

        Agree with most of this – but we only have Froome’s word for it that he really was ill in the 2015 Tour and could have applied for a TUE.
        That could – could – be a lie to cover for his weakness late in a grand tour (which Contador has speculated about) and he could also just be saying it to make himself look good.
        He’s recently said that the TUE system should be changed. In that case, he should at least come out and say ‘I regret getting my two TUEs’.
        As for what else Sky riders and all other riders are using – e.g. corticosteroids out of competition – I suspect that most are doing whatever is legal. (A lot of exceptionally skinny guys who are prone to illness at Sky, which is indicative of corticosteroid use, amongst other things.)

        • NYCRider

          I believe Walsh corroborated the TUE opt-out (not that that necessarily adds weight), but yeah point taken re: Froome

  • Ride4fun

    Marginal gains OR marginal documentation?

  • Ride4fun

    “Wiggins insists his corticosteroid usage was very different to Millar and others”
    Yes very different: Wiggo’s use was in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

  • Wilson

    What is there to investigate? He applied for a treatment, it was granted, he used it.

    • donncha

      Clearly you didn’t even read the article.

      • Wilson

        After the first few paragraphs it’s pure speculation. How about answering with something more than an arguament from authority?

        • donncha

          Yes, he applied, it was granted and he used it. However, what’s suggested is that that whole process be examined. It’s not about banning Wiggins, it’s about finding out whether the TUE process can be improved. For example, was it only Zorzoli who signed off on the TUE, not the three-person panel that’s supposed to? If so, were Wiggo’s medical records & need for Kenacort (and only Kenacort) reviewed at all, or did Zorzoli just rubber-stamp the TUE? Should a rider be allowed to race while on a TUE, especially for something as strongly performance enhancing as Kenacort? That could be reviewed as well, and, as pointed out by Dr. McGrane, none of this has to be done in public. While the specific case of Wiggo could be reviewed, the aim doesn’t have to be “get Wiggo”, it could simply be “were the procedures followed? how can we improve them? how can we strengthen the TUE process.”

          So, yes, applied/granted/used, but still lots of questions re: the process & procedures which can be investigated.

    • cthenn

      This has all been covered in multiple articles here and elsewhere. If you want to defend cheaters, by all means go ahead, but you are either naive, ignorant, or both if your answer is “this is all fine”.

    • Dave

      The letters ‘app’ seem to have mistakenly made their way in there. Your post should read:

      “He lied for a treatment, it was granted, he used it.”

      I normally charge for my editing services, but I’m in a good mood today and I’ll give you this one for free. You’re welcome.

  • Berne Shaw

    I think this post hoc criticism is nor right nor is it dispositive of any wrong doing both in the letter and spirit of the rules.

    The real problem is not SKY nor Wiggins. IT is the TUE system as it was then and still now perhaps.

    Certain medications just should not be allowed. For example inhalers do NOT provide better than normal lung function in an ill or healthy cyclist contrary to popular belief. The use of corticosteroids however does. Therefore all medication of this kind must be banned regardless of need.

    • pedr09

      I don’t agree with some of that Berne. I think the criticism is warranted and useful, just as it is whenever there is something unearthed that needs to be investigated, be that a rider, a team or a procedure. I agree that the current TUE system is not defensible, but how do we arrive at that? Because we have seen it being abused, and this time, not by those who have dubious reputations. To say that the abuser is not the real problem while true, doesn’t absolve them of all wrongdoing or right not to be criticised. Sky has continuously put itself up high on the ethics and accountability scale and we now find that legal or not, the actions they chose not to disclose, have them actually sitting much lower down.

    • cthenn

      Nope. The problem is Wiggins. He’s a cheater plain and simple, there is NO logical reason for the tue’s he got, sorry.

    • NYCRider

      If we were talking about, say, Nibali/Astana, then I would be more likely to agree.

      But we’re talking about Sky – a team that has likely benefited from it’s highly-publicised zero-tolerance policy. And I believe a team who had originally publicly stated it wouldn’t seek TUEs for in-competition riders. And we’re talking about Wiggins, a rider who I once really respected, who has publicly spoken out against doping and gray practices, and who stated in his autobiography that he only ever had vaccination injections and an IV for dehydration.

      So yes, the TUE system as a whole is the priority item here re: investigation and change. But I think Sky/Wiggins deserve something extra as well. You do not come along as “the new shiny clean team/rider I-mean-it-for-real-this-time” after everything that had happened previously, preach to the masses, and then do this.

      As for TUEs: in-competition TUEs need to go altogether. Out-of-competition TUEs need to be tightened up and publicised.

  • weiwentg

    Did some Google research on injected Kenacort and asthma. Kenacort is a very powerful corticosteroid, much more powerful than the inhaled stuff. Do not view them as equivalent.

    I found a few case studies and some proposed medical treatment guidelines. It’s looking like Kenacort is something physicians could consider for asthma patients who have severe, chronic asthma that’s not controlled well by inhalers AND by oral steroids. Patients like that are generally in the hospital, multiple times, because their asthma got out of control.

    Many people with asthma can compete in sports. I have some pretty mild exercise-induced asthma, and I use a rescue inhaler in the spring and the fall if I’m going for a race or really hard ride outdoors. I am seeing a lot of ignorant comments along the lines of “if you have asthma, don’t race.” That said, it seems like if you legitimately need a Kenacort injection for asthma, you will not be physically able to race.

    It’s looking pretty clear to me that Sky and Wiggins pushed the rules. The generous interpretation is that they were looking to use some very powerful medicine to prevent any asthma symptoms, basically the most powerful medicine we can write on a TUE. The ungenerous interpretation is that one of their goals, or their main goal, was weight loss.


    • cthenn

      Stop providing facts to the fanboys and Beliebers…

      • weiwentg

        Sorry, I am constitutionally unable to stop providing facts :-p

        • dottigirl

          Try providing facts for Kenacort and the specific conditions mentioned on the forms then, as that’s what the TUEs were for. Not asthma.

          • weiwentg

            I have actually received diagnoses of both allergic rhinitis and asthma. They are related. Allergic rhinitis is a group of symptoms including sneezing, watery eyes, and other similar symptoms. Allergic rhinitis can be acute or chronic. Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease. Most people with asthma also have allergy symptoms.


            When you research the medications salbutamol, formoterol, and budesonide, you will discover that they are asthma treatments. Wiggins, in his interview with the Guardian, does not specifically describe his condition as “asthma”, and none of the TUE applications does either. Yet, he describes symptoms much like severe asthma (considerably worse than mine, FWIW). So, in his particular case, the distinction between allergic rhinitis (which is has been experiencing for years, so this is chronic) and asthma (inherently chronic) isn’t relevant.


            What is relevant is that, no matter whether we call it rhinitis or asthma, he received a very potent steroid injection. Injected steroids have systemic effects, and one of those effects is reported to be weight loss. You seem to be thinking that allergic rhinitis and asthma are distinct conditions, and he was being prescribed Kenacort for the former. You’re wrong. Moreover, say you are correct, and they are distinct. Seasonal allergies are clearly less severe than asthma. The evidence I’ve already presented says that because of the potential side effects, clinicians have generally given injected Kenacort only for very severe cases of asthma that a) land people in the hospital more than once and b) don’t respond to inhalers or oral corticosteroids. Then the question is why Wiggins was being given Kenacort for mere seasonal allergies?

            For reference, Wiggins 2011, 2012, and 2013 TUEs:

            WADA treatment and TUE guidelines for asthma.


  • J Evans

    Sign my Get rid of Carlton Kirby petition and we might finally stop this man from ruining our viewing. I will send it to Eurosport.


  • J Evans

    Excellent article. It is very hard to believe that any neutral person would disagree with what is written here.

  • Patrick Murphy

    Not happy about this whole Wiggins episode, I’m also not comfortable with the whole TUE system but what is completely unfair is why Wiggins is being made the scapegoat for it all. An investigation is warranted but it should apply to all riders using or possibly abusing the TUE system. Wiggins IMO is not a doper, he wasn’t abusing the medication being used, he had a condition and sought help with it, albeit it does seem like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    • J Evans

      Wiggins isn’t a scapegoat any more than Armstrong was a scapegoat.
      Yes, a thorough investigation of his and all other TUE’s should happen, but he has done this and thus is not a scapegoat.
      Your opinion that he is not a doper goes against the evidence: injections of this drug are never used to prevent asthma or allergies. They are only used to treat severe attacks that require hospitalisation. As he was winning the Dauphine in 11 and 12, and competing in Trentino in 13, he does not fit that requirement.
      If you accept the fact that the treatment was not justified, you then ask why else was it given?
      That’s before you add in all the other shady aspects: timings, Zorzoli, 2011 TUE given without examination, 2012 TUE given 6 weeks after the examination (with Dauphine victory between the two) – and all the other things in the article above.
      Nothing other than faith is backing up the claims of those who think Wiggins did not dope.

    • NYCRider

      It would be unfair if he wasn’t an outspoken anti-doping rider on an outspoken “clean” team. Getting injections of a powerful, PED-associated drug, right before a GT, over three consecutive years, when the medical issue was relatively minor (and the rider in question seemed in great health, particularly in 2012) warrants some further investigation.

      I’m British and always been a big supporter of Wiggo. But let’s not go all Armstrong-fan here. Blinkers off.

      • Patrick Murphy

        I’m British as well, I’m a fan of Wiggins but that does not blinker my view here. There are many things here that are cause for alarm, ethically questionable and as you say probably not the best practice for a “clean” team but the process in which they (Wiggins and Sky) went about it was by the book. I’m so 50/50 on the whole TUE argument it frustrates me! I don’t believe athletes with health conditions should be penalised, but they should certainly not be given an advantage, the latter for me being the real grey area. How can it be proved they are not getting a boost.

        The more I think about it, the more I think we should just have the WADA list and ban TUEs, it would eradicate so many arguments.

        • NYCRider

          It was by the book absolutely – doesn’t make it right though. And when you add up all the pieces, it’s basically legal doping. And like I said in another comment on here, if this was done by a team that didn’t have a zero-tolerance / clean policy, or by a rider who didn’t publicly comment about their cleanliness, or comment about other riders’ practices that they disagreed with, then that would be one thing; a slightly grubby affair that would hopefully ignite the larger conversation around TUEs.

          But I just don’t think that Wiggo/Sky deserve that lack of individual scrutiny. You get up on your high horse, then by all means preach brother [I was the choir for a long time], but you better never, ever fall.

          For example. Lizzie Armitstead’s three missed drug tests, followed by the appeal to CAS, who overturned one of the strikes on her record, allowing her to compete in the Olympics. That was also by the book. She followed due process and ultimately was allowed to compete. But I think we’d all agree the whole affair was questionable at best. And that included Wiggins, who made public comments against her. I don’t think it’s acceptable for a rider who has stated he only ever had vaccination injections or IV drips (for dehydration), who rode for a team who started out stating they wouldn’t apply for in-competition TUEs, to out another athlete when in fact they themself had been taking (yes, legal) steroid injections before consecutive GT bids – which obviously included a TDF win.

  • J Evans

    In The Guardian, Wiggins offers no evidence at all and doesn’t answer the many, many questions people/media have asked. Just yet more PR-friendly ‘But I’m Brad – I’m innocent’ blather and includes such zingers as:

    WF: How is it you can win the Dauphiné in spite of the symptoms?

    BW: As I said before I’d learnt to manage it.

    So, keep managing.

    He then says about the triamcinolone injection in 2011: “I actually think it was a detriment to my performance. As the first week went on I felt like I was getting weaker and weaker, I didn’t have the power.”

    Of course. That’s why you took it the next two years.

    His hair looks weird in the photo – is that butter on it?

  • J Evans

    Wiggins on triamcinolone: ‘they use that to treat hay fever allergies because at the end of the day it’s an antihistamine, a very strong, powerful antihistamine.’

    It is – as even the interviewer points out – nothing of the sort.
    It’s also not what they use to treat hay fever allergies.
    It’s only for severe breathing difficulties that require hospitalisation.

    The interviewer doesn’t say that to Wiggins, though – and generally gives him a very easy time. Doesn’t ask the pertinent questions.


    WF: Did you have any injections out of competition?
    BW: No. For what?
    WF: For this?
    BW: No, I’d test positive. If it was in my urine [without a TUE] I’d go positive for cortisone.

    Is that true? If corticosteroids are allowed OOC, would a test come out as positive for them?

    • dottigirl

      It WAS used to treat hay fever and other seasonal allergies. There’s a couple of netdoctor (UK site) threads on it around the same time, with people enthusing about how good it is, and how they’re having increasing difficulties persuading their doctor to prescribe it due to the side effects (eats holes at the site of injection appears to be the main one).


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