A report in the French press has revealed that Tour de France winner Chris Froome was granted therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for steroids by the world governing body of cycling, the UCI.
French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche alleged that the request of Team Sky ahead of the Tour de Romandie was authorized by the UCI medical supervisor without it being referred to a TUE committee, as required by World Anti-Doping Agency regulations. The Team Sky rider was allowed to take up to 40mg of the drug Prenisolone (in tablet form) a day. The newspaper cited Dr Gerard Guillaume as an expert who remarked that rules state that taking steroids by mouth is prohibited during competition and that if a cyclist displays a condition requiring such a treatment, he is clearly not fit to take part and that any request for a TUE must be considered by a group of experts. The French newspaper report revealed that the Kenyan-born British professional road racing cyclist received permission to use Prenisolone to treat a chill during this year's Tour de Romandie.
A Team Sky spokesman confirmed that Chris Froome had been suffering from a chest infection exacerbating his underlying asthma. The TUE was issued on 29 April, the day the Tour de Romandie started. This was after UCI medical director Mario Zorzoli gave the go ahead to Team Sky doctor Alan Farrell. The UCI has maintained that "usual procedure" was followed in the way. The UCI said in a statement that Christopher Froome's TUE for oral use of glucocorticosteroids was granted on April 29 2014 based on duly documented medical history and in compliance with the applicable UCI regulations and the relevant WADA guidelines.
It was added that the TUE was granted for a limited period, following the usual procedure and the process was fully transparent as it is UCI's policy to systematically record all TUEs on ADAMS. The statement said that UCI has looked into the matter regarding the grant of recent Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) and confirms that nothing out of the ordinary occurred in the case of Team Sky rider Christopher Froome. The UCI also revealed that the World Anti-Doping Agency was therefore informed throughout the process and went on to add that the UCI wishes to emphasize that under the applicable rules - which are consistent with the WADA Code and the WADA TUE Standard and Guidelines - any rider with the same symptoms as Christopher Froome would have received a similar therapeutic use exemption.
The statement went on to say that the UCI would like to express its profound disappointment with the speculations that have been made suggesting its President could have any influence on the granting of therapeutic use exemptions. It was added the UCI President and the UCI Administration have absolutely no involvement with decisions on therapeutic use exemptions. Insinuating that Brian Cookson's son's employment with Team Sky could have something to do with the decision to grant the TUE is an unfounded allegation which will be dealt with seriously.