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  • ArthurVandelay

    I have always found the excuses (allergies, hay fever, etc.) a bit dodgy to explain corticosteroid abuse a bit dodgy. In my own field of Anesthesia we administer corticosteroids perioperatively. They dramatically decrease pain and inflammation after surgery. It would be a perfect drug to cheat with during a Grand Tour where riders are crashing, are very sore, etc. Getting a TUE is a convenient excuse.

    • Neuron1

      Arthur, I’m an Anesthesiologist also, and agree fully with your assessment. Following an intraoperative dose of decadron patients awaken with a sense of energy and vigor that we didn’t see in the past without the drug.

      Mr. Jaksche’s comments about David Brailsford seem to have the ring of truth. An example of questionable information being propagated is: during the press conference at the 2015 Tour where he and the team physiologist stated that Chris Froome was putting out less than 6 watts/kg on the climb and yet crushing everybody who published their data showing greater than 6w/kg. They attributed this to the oval chain rings (they claimed greater than 6% over reading on a power meter based on Sky’s testing) and the other’s power meters not reading the data accurately. In the paper published about Froome’s physiology, they used Froome’s actual bike to do the testing and compared his power meter to the calibrated one in the lab. The results showed less than 2% variance. There is an interesting analysis of this press conference and the data presented on http://sportsscientists.com/2015/07/great-power-great-responsibility-less-power-greater-speeds/

      • velocite

        Do you chaps always capitalize your profession?

        • Neuron1

          It’s a proper noun.

          • Dave

            So you’re the only one, right?

        • Dave

          That’s an American English thing.

          In English, you would write anaesthesiologist (or anaesthetist) without being capitalised, because there is more than one of them.

          In English, the rules are:
          – Capitalise a profession or position it when it is used as a title preceding a specific person’s name, e.g. “When Sky began racing in 2010, Team Principal Dave Brailsford was clear…” being done correctly in the above article.
          – Don’t capitalise it when not using it as a person’s title with their name, or when you’re talking about one or more unspecified anaesthesiologists, anaesthetists or team principals.
          – When a title is specific enough (e.g. the Queen, the Prime Minister etc) without the person’s name, capitalise it.
          – Capitalise selectively if you’re writing about the Prime Minister and other prime ministers (former prime ministers, prime ministers of other countries etc) in the same piece, it can be helpful if done well with consistency but also confusing if done badly!

        • John Murphy


        • cthenn

          Velocite, do you capitalize “burger flipper” when you write down your job title?

      • Rob

        Two Anesthesiologists walk into a bar…………. neither of them felt a thing!

        Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the lamb special.

        • Ok, I laughed out loud at this. Thank you!

        • cthenn


  • AA BB

    This is pretty damning!

  • J Evans

    Corticosteroids are completely legal outside of competition. That is totally wrong.
    Getting a TUE to race on a PED because you’re ill is also completely wrong.
    An allergy or asthma are different – although clearly being abused. Only neutral – i.e. non-team – doctors should be allowed to prescribe.

    • Dave

      I agree.

      Make the corticosteroid TUEs apply only to out-of-competition use, and unavailable for in-competition use. Then require riders be clean for a minimum of 2 weeks after the treatment ends before returning to racing.

      Those that genuinely need them to assist in recovery won’t have a problem with continuing to use them appropriately, those who don’t will quickly find other methods not involving performance enhancing steroids.

    • John Murphy

      Legal in an injection form that’s much more effective per the article?

    • hornk

      I was thinking you should have to get a doctor employed by a competitor’s team to sign off. If you’re Froome you need another world-tour doc to sign off. Would probably limit some of the abuse.

  • Nick

    I find this quite uncomfortable to read. Although I am no authority on the matter by any means, prior to the recent leak uncovering various athletes applications for TUE’s I was aware… or should I say I assumed that TUE’s were being misused in many cases but I think this article has just painted the picture a whole lot more clearly and enlightened me to the true scale (or potential scale) of the problem.

    I love cycling and will continue to ‘stand in it’s corner’ when discussing sports with others who only associate it with PED’s, but it seems this argument is only getting harder to support.

    I seriously hope the popularity of cycling continues to grow and these little incidents don’t do further damage to the sports already suffering reputation.

    • J Evans

      These ‘little incidents’ are precisely why cycling has such a terrible reputation. And until cycling does something to actually stop the rampant (but legal) misuse of drugs in the peloton that reputation will not change.

      Wiggins took a performance-enhancing drug two weeks before winning the Tour – that is undeniable. Regardless of why he took it (that, we can never know), it still had the performance-enhancing effect on him.

      People are reeling so much from this because that Tour de France performance was hailed as ‘The first clean victory for decades’, etc.

      That’s still legally true – a fact that Wiggins’s supporters are so desperately clinging to.

      • Steve

        The first clean winner was arguably Cadel the year before in 2011. I can’t see how this is a huge revelation there has been anti Sky sentiment for years. If a team is dominant like USPS and win the tour like USPS then it’s probably just a rebranded USPS

        • Dave

          In cycling, it’s probably a prudent move to only go for describing TdF winners as ‘cleaner’ rather than clean.

        • Dodger

          Ever heard of Luigi Cecchini? And you Cadel??

  • Stian Pollestad

    We have the same case in Norway with the Norwegian cross-country skiing team. It has been revealed that all the athletes are using asthmatic medicine, but of course under the cover of TUE. But one got got banned for 2 months due to too high levels of salbutamol, exceeding the levels of 1000 ng/ml. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Johnsrud_Sundby)

    • ebbe

      Also speed skating has had the exact same issue for years and years.

      Oh, guess what? There’s no pollen in either cross country skiing of speed skating. Still they find a way to be allowed to use the good stuff

  • flx

    I love how Jaksche subtly calls out Sky as a bunch of pathetic dopers.

    • Wily_Quixote

      Why shouldn’t he blame the team management?

  • AaronD

    People seem to be forgetting the form and results Wiggins had in the lead up to the tour in 2011 and 2012 such as the Dauphine and Paris-Nice. The intramuscular injection before the Tour did nothing magical, he just held his form which he had already showed before the injection.

    • Steve

      So you don’t think it had any effect at reducing the physiological toll a grand tour had on him. It’s a marginal gain that helped him gain a 3 min 21 sec advantage over 3500km.

      • real

        In TDF 2009 he finished 4th. Just my opinion but contador and Armstrong, on a bruyneel team, were likely (blood) doping. Armstrong (ventoux), contador mountain attacks/annency time trial. For this he was on a Vaughters team which, despite full of xdopers and Danielson’s positive, people give a free pass to. fine. Also his TUE was for an inhaler only. My point is that I’d say 4th in 09 is a good comparable for 1st in 2012 on a MASSIVELY favourable course for Wiggins – is this a dramatic improvement, not IMO.

        I don’t like it at all either but, it was within the rules and it isn’t as big a sporting incident as is being made out. The news here is the lapse in ethics on the part of sky, though should not be a surprise to anybody. Cycling was, is and always will be a dog eat dog world.

        • John Murphy

          Did you not read the article or comments, it’s a needle injection that has massive performance benefits.

          • real

            He didn’t receive the injection in 09 and, IMO, delivered a similar performance, whilst on ‘team clean’.

            I’m not happy either but it isn’t as clear cut as some make out and some clearly have an agenda with Sky and British cyclists.

        • Burt Valance

          IOW he was doping in 2009 also. How to explain back of the autobus to climbing Verbiers with Bertie, Andy and Lance?

    • ebbe

      Some people also forget to mention that corticos are completely free to (ab)use Out of Competition . You can use as much as you want, you don’t need a TUE and don’t even need to report it

      These people try to focus solely on that one injection per season, completely (and on deliberately?) leaving out the fact that the real benefits of corticos are found in the build up to a season (aka: Out of Competition (ab)use)

      These people then go on to argue “Do you really think one injection would have such a big effect?” and “He was already in good form/skinny/strong, so that injection didn’t help”, again ignoring the Out of Competition (ab)use

      These people are trying to obscure the actual issue with cortico abuse

      • Matty Beattie

        People are not even close to the truth. The truth is much worse than just TUE’s.

  • Sean Parchem

    No matter what WADA and the UCI do I will always be suspect of a Grand Tour winner. Cadel included. Unless for some miraculous reason no one was doping that year.
    The other interesting thing about all this is the TUE with Vaughters/Slipstream. I thought Slipstream (Vaughters team name at the time) had a strict policy of no needles and if you needed a TUE you weren’t racing for a specified period of time?

    • donncha

      The TUEs with Slipstream were for inhalers. The needles were with SKY.

      • Sean Parchem

        I was just curious about holding people out of races when they needed a TUE. I thought I read something about Vaugthers not allowing people to enter races on his team if they needed one.

  • Durian Rider

    The funniest thing of all is that kenalog is not even tested for…

  • velocite

    As has been already mentioned by several under related posts, there’s a possibility this issue would be handled if all TUEs were published when they were issued. It sounds easy and cheap, so why not?

    Speaking of marginal gains, I believe that during WWII the British put it about that they were feeding their pilots carrots, in an effort to explain the benefits of their new radar.

    • real

      Medical privacy should be respected. I think a better idea would be to have the athelete consult a non team doctor or simply not be permitted the a medication at a time it would produce a significant advantage

      • Dave

        The TUE certificates don’t actually contain medical records.

        • ebbe

          One could even easily argue that being open about conditions elite athletes suffer from (provided it’s a real condition and not an excuse, of course) can set an inspiring example for youngsters around the world suffering from those same conditions.

          What would help ADHD-awareness more? A multi Olympic medal winner being honest about the fact that she (also) has ADHD all her life, or that same athlete trying to cover it up? One of the two signals acceptance (you can still achieve great things if you have ADHD), the other signals shame (you should hide it if you have ADHD).

          Amanda Quek today has it completely backwards: She’s trying to spin it into “young kids will be ashamed of needing a TUE”. While in fact she’s advocating they should be ashamed to have asthma. The latter being far worse.

          • Dave

            A good case of the ‘inspiring example’ strategy is Jack Bobridge, who has been completely open about the difficulties of racing with rheumatoid arthritis.

            I agree with the point you made in your other post a bit further down about the ‘inspiring example’ strategy having a major problem if it comes to light that you don’t actually have that condition.

            • ebbe

              That’s a problem only for cheaters… So i’d say: all the more reason to be open about it! ;-)

      • velocite

        I agree with Dave. Any supposedly arms’ length review system would cost money and could not guarantee no abuse. Publishing would apply such free scrutiny that you would think that any rider would think seriously before applying. I’m not entirely sure myself what’s so important about medical privacy, but anyhow in this case I think you need an actual argument for concealment. Is there one?

        • real

          Yes, medical conditions, you’d rather not share.

          • Dave

            That’s a value judgement though, because being a professional athlete is not a human right.

            If you value winning the Tour more than your privacy, then you get the TUE and have the certificate published so you can go racing. It’s only the very slightest degrading of your privacy (keep in mind all the other indignities associated with being a pro cyclist – wearing skintight lycra, pissing in a cup etc) as the TUE certificates often don’t even mention the athlete’s condition!

            If you value your privacy more, then you reject the TUE option and go home to recover properly rather than trying to race while you’re sick.

          • velocite

            As in ‘my haemocrit is 54, and I’d rather you didn’t know’? I know you didn’t mean that, but that’s the issue really: an ostensibly medical issue is covering what is actually breaking the rules. In relation to medical data generally, concerns have been expressed about possible discrimination by insurers or employers based on medical data, but beyond that I’m not sure, but am open to be convinced of the need for privacy.

          • ebbe

            One could easily argue that being open about conditions elite athletes suffer (provided it’s a real condition and not an excuse to legally dope, of course) can set an inspiring example for youngsters around the world suffering from those same conditions. Here’s one example http://www.ad.nl/andere-sporten/polling-ik-moest-op-judo-omdat-ik-adhd-had~a301639b/ and there must/should be loads more.

            What would help ADHD-awareness more? (1) A multi Olympic medal winner such as Simone Biles being honest about the fact that she (also) has ADHD all her life, or (2) that same athlete trying to cover it up in shame? One of the two signals acceptance (you can achieve great things if you have ADHD), the other signals shame (you should hide it if you have ADHD).

            Amanda Quek today has it completely backwards. She’s trying to spin it into “young kids will be ashamed of (admitting) needing a TUE for their condition” and therefore, using her faulty logic, TUEs need to be hidden. While in fact her logic advocates kids should be ashamed to (admit to) suffer from the condition, and therefore the condition itself needs to be hidden. The latter being the far worse option for youngsters and elite athletes alike, IMHO.

            …Unless of course, they don’t really suffer from the condition and are using it as an excuse to legally dope, then they should be ashamed.

        • real

          Really you think tribunal by twitter is better.

          • velocite

            The machinery for transparency is so readily accessible these days it’s hard to deny – witness this topic, triggered by hackers, not to mention Wikileaks. So leaving aside the emotive colour of the characterization, yes, I am in favour of ‘tribunal by twitter’. The issue is timing. Do publish the data contemporaneously, or do we have our tribunal by twitter long afterwards, as we are now, when all we can do is gnash out teeth?

      • jules

        privacy is bandied about far too much as an excuse for covering stuff up. what is the privacy issue here, really? that an athlete suffers from asthma? precisely what are the privacy implications for the athlete of disclosing that fact? it’s not HIV.

        there’s just no plausible ‘cost’ of disclosing medical facts like asthma. we shouldn’t use ‘privacy’ as some kind of holy cow to justify concealing anything and everything.

        • real

          You’re assuming its always asthma, one althelete in the leak has ADHD. Perhaps certain conditions could be ‘disclosable’ I’ll grant you, but it is tyrannical to apply your own outlook on someone else’s medical history and how they might feel about it.

          • jules

            public disclosure wouldn’t be necessary if the authorities were properly administering the TUE system. but to just turn a blind eye to asthma epidemics in the peloton suggests that they are not. and never have. that’s why public disclosure can be useful, as athletes rely on their credibility for their athletic achievement to have meaning.

            there’s a broader question of why ADHD should be concealed. how is it any different from asthma? the answer lies in public ignorance. ideally the disclosing of any medical condition shouldn’t be a concern to athletes, or anyone.

            • real

              Well, the authorities is where the focus should be not the altheltes. A lesson most don’t take on board from the Armstrong era.

              Instead we hound athletes on social media, which has yet to accomplish anything.

              • jules

                disagree. that’s a common misconception, but virtually no effective compliance system works by authorities putting all the onus on themselves to administer a watertight regime. it applies to general crime too, with the common catch-cry ‘we need more police’ as if we can stop crime by chasing crooks more. absolutely doesn’t work. putting more onus on crooks (or athletes in this circumstance – some overlap!) is a proven method.

        • Dave

          If you’re not keen on having people know when you’re sick or injured, there are other careers which may be more suitable than that of a professional athlete.

          A cynical person might suggest the reason most of the 41% of pro cyclists with asthma are not interested in transparency is that their claims might get challenged. It would be interesting to hear from the bosses of Chris Froome’s former team Barloworld as to how he managed his asthma when he was racing there.

          Secrecy is a big gamble, not least because you don’t get to control the narrative if the information gets leaked into the public domain and it’s anything less than completely above board. For an even bigger example from outside the world of sport, look no further than the slow motion train wreck that Hillary Clinton’s secrecy problem is causing for her run at the presidency, at this point even many rusted-on Democrat voters are more interested in seeing her emails than Trump’s taxes.

          • jules

            there are options anyway. maybe have a broader panel of medicos to review TUEs. not public disclosure, but disclosure beyond a narrow cohort who appear prepared to rubber stamp TUE applications.

            • Dave

              Assessment of the athlete by an independent doctor should certainly be considered, rather than the current situation of it being applied for by the team doctor.

              This should be in addition to publishing of the TUE as a public record, not as a substitute for it. If the system is improved and trust regained through transparency, it will get to the point that the TUEs are so boring that nobody will bother reading them – rather than attracting international attention when secret documents get leaked.

          • real

            So you’d abolish the Paralympics? Nice.

            • Dave

              No. Unlike you it would seem, I know the difference between a person who has a disability and a person with no disability who is sick.

              The verification systems in place with para-sport classifications actually provide an example which could be considered for study with how to develop a better system for TUE approvals. Para-sport has been through similar scandals and has worked to improve their methods as a result.

              • real

                So improve the methods yes, without compromising privacy.

          • Dodger

            Didn’t need to manage it at Barloworld since he has only caught it later in life apparently. Hell, Chris Horner has’caught’ it at 43. UCI however doesn’t appear to have bought it in his case ???

  • ” His unease is because he believes that the system is being gamed, just like Jaksche and other riders did years ago.”

    Isn’t nature wonderful ? Each season of Hay Fever & other ails , moves around with the Cycling calender ?

    ” No matter what WADA and the UCI do I will always be suspect of a Grand Tour winner. Cadel included. Unless for some miraculous reason no one was doping that year. ”

    Anyonelse notice that after 99 years of TDF Doping incidents , the 100th edition was ” LILY WHITE “! With each passing year , i now realise that ” Mc Quaid ” did not shuffle the 2013 results into a locked drawer !

    QATAR World Congress is about to happen , but i doubt that there will be any change in the Leadership , thus this inconvenient “Current Hiccup ” will not even be a ” speed bump “!

    Again , i remind that the UCI , has the DUTY of CARE for CYCLISTS , World Wide ! Any effort to create a World Wide Unbrella Org. for Cyclist safety Issues , will impact on EVERY Person on a BIKE !

    How hard is it to get this matter on that AGENDA , this year ?

    With articles such as these , pointing out that Countries & Cities , such as ” Norway / Oslo ” as examples, are FINALLY tackling the plight of ” Vulnerable Road Users ” , it would be better to ACT NOW , than arrive in Bergen in 2017 , with so many MORE DEAD CYCLISTS ( even Pro Racers ) that could even have been avoided ?




    https://www.facsbook.com/Safe Cycling Australia 17 September at 16:55 ·

    Don’t even think that the UCI initiative of ” Awarding POINTS ” , is a step in the right direction ! It is a ” Smoke screen for Inaction !

  • real

    Note joerg doesn’t talk about how great the medication was when combined with a fresh bag of blood.

    • velocite

      I must say I take his claims of the enormous benefits with a grain of salt.

      • real

        I don’t like how it looks, but to put faith in the likes of this guy and Rasmussen. LMAO.

        The hardcore ‘cynics’ are parodies of themselves.

      • Dave

        And that’s why you don’t take anything purely on his word, but add it to all the other evidence as part of a comprehensive case.

        • real

          A comprehensive case of someone operating within the rules.

          • Dave

            Now is the time for you to show your working.

          • ebbe

            We’ve seen, in recent months, plenty of evidence that both team Sky and British cycling certainly have no issue operating outside the rules or bending these rules in their favour (and subsequently asking for, and getting, a free pass – not unlike a TUE). Why would you believe they would all of a sudden be saints regadring the abusing of Drugs that offer proven Performance Enhancements?

            • real

              I don’t believe they are saints nor should anyone expect anyone else in cycling to be.

              What is suggested in your post is that you believe that what you see on twitter is evidence, presumably to firm up confirmation bias.

              • ebbe

                I have no particular knowledge on cortico abuse, so have no bias te be confirmed. I have however read many opinions of various people (PHDs, exercise phisiologists, GPs/medical doctors, pro-riders (including but not limited to ex-dopers – who are top experts by personal experience), team owners, etc etc). These opinions sometime are contradicting, but generally most of them say cortico abuse, when not isolated to one or two injections but applied over a longer period, results in exactly the patters we’ve seen at team Sky before, in, and after the relevant period.

                You’ve offered nothing to counter their testimonials. You instead opt to completely ignore – even when explicitly asked about it – these testimonials, simply because they don’t fit your belief. Now, who’s “confirmation biased” again?

                Or show that you’re not, and reply to the argument: Cortico abuse is not a matter of one or two injecitons just before the race. It’s the two months *before that* where the real gains (getting incredibly lean + staying strong = high W/kg) are achieved. Go ahead and reply.

                • real

                  Not at all. I have no belief about SKY either way until confronted with concrete proof. What we have here is evidence of riders following the rules. Do I like what I see? No, especially in Wiggins case, but it doesn’t add up to the hysterics I’m seeing. Not yet anyway.

                  • ebbe

                    Then why do you continue to refuse a response to the various testimonials speaking of cortico abuse as a multi week program (completely within the rules!), rather than one isolated injection? One isolated injection about the legitimacy of which a lot of questions could be asked (the Giro is not even held in pollen season, and that specifically mentioned type of pollen does not even grow in Mediterranean Europe), mind you. Why do you fail to even simply acknowledge this would fit the pattern (in substance, in timing, in results, and historically in the sport) of such a multi week doping program?

                    What you fail to realise, real, is that asking questions is not “hysteria”. Hysteria would be half the cycling micro-cosmos demanding Wiggins, or even Froome and the rest of Sky, be stripped of their wins, return all prize money and sponsorship income, and be banned from cycling forever together with all their managers/mechanics/soigneurs/suppliers/friends/family/etc. Hysteria is what we saw with the motor found at CX Worlds and with the disc brake fiasco. That kind of hysteria is not happening here at all. But the reality of it is still: Sky’s stories of the past couple of years don’t add up, now that we know what we know because of the leaks. Lots of people are asking serious questions because these stories don’t add up. That’s a good thing. Sky is keeping mum, or avoiding the questions. That’s not a good thing. This only makes Sky look even more guilty. Possibly even more guilty than they are.

                    • real

                      Calm down you’re hysterical!

                    • ebbe

                      Haha, sure. Things ‘ve gotten a bit too difficult for you? ;-)

    • Dodger

      Plenty of evidence around that it does. You can start with Rasmussen, Rabobank, Leinders and the reason for his lifetime ban. Gee, isn’t that the same Leinders who was at Sky when Wiggo was there….

  • Velomania

    If the sport really wanted to clean up doping it would do away with TUE’s all together. Why should someone born with asthma get an exception and someone born with a low hemocrit or testosterone not?


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