Sir David Brailsford has defended Sir Bradley Wiggins and insisted that no anti-doping rules were broken by the cyclist's use of a banned steroid.
A leak by the hacker group Fancy Bears earlier this month revealed that Wiggins received three therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for triamcinolone, an anti-inflammatory drug, before major stage races.
The drug, which Wiggins claims was used to combat allergies and respiratory issues, is known to enhance athletic performance and is included on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances.
Brailsford, however, denies that Wiggins used the drug for such a purpose. "It was not being used to enhance performance," he told BBC Sport.
"I have known Bradley a long time and he is an asthma sufferer and he has struggled with allergies for as long as I have known him.
"I know that at the time there was a recommendation to see a specialist, he went to see a specialist and was then given permission by the authorities.
"I trust and believe in the integrity of that process."
Wiggins received TUEs prior to the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France - the latter of which Wiggins won - and the 2013 Giro d’Italia, while racing for Brailsford's Team Sky.
On Sunday, Britain's most decorated Olympian gave an interview to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in which he claimed that he was not attempting to gain an "unfair advantage" and that his use of the drug was designed to "put himself back on a level playing field".
In his 2012 autobiography, Wiggins insisted that he strictly observes the UCI's 'no needles policy'. In a later book, he claimed: "In British cycling culture, at the word 'needle' - or the sight of one - you go, 'Oh s***'."
TUEs allow athletes to take an otherwise banned substance in order to treat a medical condition, provided that there is no other effective treatment.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies