Dr. Prentice Steffen, a former team doctor of Sir Bradley Wiggins, has questioned the decision to allow Bradley Wiggins to make use of banned steroid just days before major races.
Steffen remarked he was "surprised" Wiggins was prescribed the drug. The former team doctor of Wiggins said it was wrong on part of the sport's governing body to allow permission to the cyclist to use a powerful corticosteroid before major races. The ex-team doctor added he was surprised to see there were TUEs documented for intramuscular Triamcinolone just before three major events - two Tours de France races and one Tour d'Italia. Steffen added you do have to think it is kind of coincidental that a big dose of intramuscular long-acting corticosteroids would be needed at that exact time before the most important race of the season. Dr Prentice Steffen added he would say certainly now in retrospect it doesn't look good, it doesn't look right from a health or sporting perspective.
Wiggins has remarked his use of the drug was for legitimate medical reasons and that no rules had been broken.
The issue of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) that permit athletes to use banned substances if they have genuine medical need has been a subject of debate ever since dozens of Olympic athletes had their private data stolen from a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) database by a group of hackers calling themselves The Fancy Bears. Many athletes have valid reasons to take the drugs but the focus has shifted heavily on five-time Olympic champion and Tour de France winner Wiggins due to the nature and apparent timing of his TUE applications.
Wiggins, an asthma and allergy sufferer, was granted permission to inject the banned drug Triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid, just days before three major races, including the 2012 Tour de France, which he went on to win and thus becoming the first Briton to do so. Bradley Wiggins also received similar permission to use 40mg of the drug before the 2011 Tour and the 2013 Tour of Italy. Questions have been raised as to why the cyclist apparently did not need the drug before 2011 or after 2013. Bradley's only TUEs were for standard asthma inhalers in 2009.
The TUEs applications of Bradley are believed to have been made by the then team doctor Dr Richard Freeman, who is now team doctor at British Cycling. It was stated in each of the applications that Wiggins underwent a nasal endoscopy in 2011, suggesting he needed more serious intervention to control his allergies.
Dr John Dickinson, of Kent University, who has worked with more than 1,000 athletes with breathing problems, said he had never prescribed Triamcinolone to an athlete. Dr Dickinson added that sort of medication is typically reserved for individuals who are in a very severe asthma response and are in need of emergency care which would suggest that particular individual may be not fit and well to compete in a race at that point in time.
Many cyclists, including convicted dopers David Millar and Michael Rasmussen, claim Triamcinolone is an extremely potent drug. Rasmussen remarked there is no doubt in his mind that corticosteroids are very, very strong and performance enhancing and also commented that they would postpone this sensation fatigue, increase your recovery speed and most importantly and quite easily I would drop one or two kg which is very important when you want to climb mountains.