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by Shane Stokes
January 11, 2018
Wellens refuses to use inhalers despite his asthma, debates TUE use; British Cycling chief executive disappointed news of Froome’s positive test was leaked; Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah host venues announced; Hanson’s nationals ride seals slot on UniSA Team for Santos Tour Down Under; Defending champion Spratt on chances of repeat Santos Tour Down Under win; Girdlestone reaches the next stage of his comeback; Israel Cycling Academy signs African refugee for two seasons; Hour record holder Marchand retires….at 106 years of age; Video: Katusha-Alpecin 2018: New season, new riders; Video: Wiggle-High5 – Tour Down Under preview – New athletes for 2018; Video: Riding Fixed, Up Mountains, With Pros. – Ep. 3 Red Rock Canyon w/ Floyd Landis & Dave Zabriskie; Photo: Edmondson debuts new national champion’s jersey
Belgian rider Tim Wellens left last year’s Tour de France due to an allergic reaction to the sun; he could have got a TUE to use cortisone, but refused that option and quit the race.
Now, weeks after Chris Froome’s adverse analytical finding for salbutamol, Wellens has spoken out about the use of asthma inhalers in cycling. “With a puff, I could increase my breathing capacity by seven or eight percent,” he told RTBF. And while he has asthma, he won’t do it. “I do not want to improve my breathing by seven percent that way. And I think that when we start using puffs [of an inhaler], after that we do not know how to live without them. I refuse to be dependent on this stuff. So, I am clearly against [their use].
“A lot of people use it. If the public knew how many riders have a puff … it’s huge!” When he was starting out five of his seven teammates used an inhaler; that doesn’t make sense to him. “I want to accept that a person needs a puff, but not five out of seven.”
Wellens doesn’t regret his choice to leave the Tour rather than get a TUE to continue. “We all know that a product like cortisone causes a lot of benefits in terms of physical benefits. When riders use it, it’s obviously annoying. It’s called … cheating! Sometimes, because we are sick, we have no choice, we must use it. But we can still decide to stop.”
Saying he doesn’t regret his choice as he is able to look at himself in the mirror, Wellens underlines that his approach has been consistent. “So far, I have never taken anything, never used a TUE, never used a puff, but I already have sixteen beautiful victories! I think a lot of riders would sign with both hands for my current record at the end of their career.”
Click through to see the full interview at RTBF: