Team Sky’s Nicolas Roche has described the decision to seek permission for Sir Bradley Wiggins to use an otherwise banned drug as “ethically wrong”.
The Irishman, who joins BMC Racing in 2017, blamed the rules surrounding therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for the furore which has erupted around Wiggins and Sir Dave Brailsford’s Team Sky squad.
Data stolen by hackers from the World Anti-Doping Agency showed Wiggins received three TUEs for anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone – which has a history of abuse in cycling – on the eve of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia. He became the first British Tour winner in 2012. Wiggins and Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director until April 2014, have strenuously denied any wrongdoing, insisting the TUEs were necessary to deal with a pollen allergy that aggravates Wiggins’ asthma condition.
The TUEs also had the approval of the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, and there is no suggestion that Wiggins, who left Team Sky in April 2015, or the team have broken any rules.
Roche finished fourth with Team Sky at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha on Sunday.
“Like I said already [before the Wiggins story], there is a major problem with TUEs,” Roche said on cyclingnews.com.
“There is a problem with the actual system. Again, you can do whatever you want against Wiggins, but unfortunately, as far as ethically it’s wrong, he is within the rules. It is wrong that these rules are like that. That’s where the main problem is. Once we get those rules right, there won’t be any abuse, but that’s the priority.”
UCI president Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling until September 2013, has insisted that the rules dictated by WADA had been followed.
UK Anti-Doping has launched an investigation into allegations of “wrongdoing” in cycling.