Bradley Wiggins 'stands by his comment on the use of illegal intravenous needle injections'

Bradley Wiggins 'stands by his comment on the use of illegal intravenous needle injections'

Bradley Wiggins has denied that controversial Belgian doctor Geert Leinders had any involvement in the decision to apply for permission to use a banned steroid to treat allergies before three major races.

Wiggins' use of triamcinolone, the same drug Lance Armstrong tested positive for at the 1999 Tour de France, came to light when Russian hackers stole medical data stored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and published it online on Wednesday.

The five-time Olympic champion has also clarified comments made in his 2012 autobiography that he strictly observed cycling's 'no needles' policy, despite already having injections of triamcinolone before the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour de France, with a third coming shortly before the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

In a statement issued to Press Association Sport, a spokesman for Wiggins said: "Brad's passing comment regarding needles in the 2012 book referred to the historic and illegal practice of intravenous injections of performance-enhancing substances, which was the subject of a law change by (world cycling's governing body) the UCI in 2011.

Bradley Wiggins in 2012.
Bradley Wiggins in 2012.

"The triamcinolone injection that is referred to in the WADA leaks is an intramuscular treatment for asthma and is fully approved by the sport's governing bodies. Brad stands by his comment concerning the use of illegal intravenous needle injections."

Leinders was hired by Team Sky, Wiggins' team at the time, in 2011 to bring the newly-formed outfit more experience of the professional road cycling scene and he worked for them on a consultancy basis until his name appeared in the United States Anti-Doping Agency's Lance Armstrong investigation in 2012.

That led to the British team immediately ending their relationship with Leinders, who had until that point been a popular member of staff.

Team boss Dave Brailsford's embarrassment at hiring Leinders was compounded three years later when a joint investigation into the Dutch Rabobank team by the American, Danish and Dutch anti-doping agencies resulted in a life ban for the doctor.

One of Rabobank's former riders, Denmark's Michael Rasmussen, has spoken at length about Leinders' use of triamcinolone and the closely related cortisone to aid recovery, boost stamina and shed weight without losing strength.

Rasmussen, who twice won the Tour's King of the Mountains jersey, has explained that Leinders helped him get the false medical certificates he needed to be granted TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions) by the UCI and WADA.

But the spokesman for Wiggins said: "Brad has no direct link to Geert Leinders.

"Leinders was 'on race' doctor for Team Sky for a short period and so was occasionally present at races dealing with injuries sustained whilst racing, such as colds, bruises and so on.

"Leinders had no part in Brad's TUE application. Brad's medical assessments from 2011-15 were processed by the official Team Sky doctor and were verified by independent specialists to follow WADA, UCI and (British Cycling) guidelines."

Team Sky has refused to answer specific questions about the decision to move Wiggins, whose asthma and pollen allergies are well documented, from less powerful medication, delivered by inhalers, earlier in his career to the three injections in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

But a team spokesman told Press Association Sport that it is "comfortable that its systems completely meet UCI and WADA guidelines" and repeated the team's "commitment to clean sport and zero tolerance of doping".

A British Cycling spokesman said the governing body was "proud of our strong anti-doping culture".

The WADA website was hacked by a Russian cyber terrorist group called the Fancy Bears.

So far, it has leaked TUE information from 40 athletes, from 10 different countries, with Wiggins, fellow British cycling stars Chris Froome and Laura Trott, Yorkshire's double Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams, American gymnastics sensation Simone Biles and tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams being the most high-profile victims.

None of the 40 have done anything wrong as TUEs enable athletes to take drugs, that would otherwise be banned, to treat legitimate medical conditions.

But the revelation that Wiggins, who became the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012, three times received injections of a drug intended for acute allergic reactions on the eve of his biggest race of the season has attracted considerable criticism.

One manager from a rival team, who wished to remain anonymous, told Press Association Sport that he would never let one of his riders apply for a TUE for triamcinolone just before that season's main target.

Here is the statement in full issued by representatives of Bradley Wiggins.

How is Brad associated (with) Geert Leinders?

"Brad has no direct link to Geert Leinders. Leinders was 'on race' doctor for Team Sky for short period and so was occasionally present at races dealing with injuries sustained whilst racing such as colds, bruises etc. Leinders had no part in Brad's TUE application; Brad's medical assessments from 2011-2015 were processed by the official Team Sky doctor, and were verified by independent specialists to follow WADA, UCI and BC guidelines.

How does Brad explain his 2012 book 'no needles' comment?

"Brad's passing comment regarding needles in the 2012 book referred to the historic (illegal) practice of intravenous injections of performance enhancing substances which was the subject of the 2011 UCI law change.

"The triamcinolone injection that is referred to in the WADA leaks is an intramuscular treatment for asthma, is fully approved by the sport's governing bodies and Brad stands by his comment concerning the use of illegal intravenous needle injections."

More in this Section

Ireland V Denmark: Player ratingsIreland V Denmark: Player ratings

Derby duo avoid jail sentenceDerby duo avoid jail sentence

Rodrigo’s late blast fires Spain to finalsRodrigo’s late blast fires Spain to finals

Kenny blasts ref as Irish unbeaten run endsKenny blasts ref as Irish unbeaten run ends


Lifestyle

I am dating a lovely guy. However, he seems really awkward about being naked in front of me.Sex File: Boyfriend keeps his T-shirt on during sex

To instantly power up your look, veer towards the hard shoulder.Bold shoulder: How to instantly power up your look

Plums are a wonderful autumn fruit, useful for all sorts of recipes both sweet and savoury. In Ireland we are blessed with wonderfully sweet plums.Currabinny Cooks: Juicy plums work for both sweet and savoury dishes

The rise of home skincare devices doesn't mean that salons and clinics no longer serve a purpose.The Skin Nerd: Don’t try this at home — new treatments in the salon

More From The Irish Examiner