Team Sky rider Nicolas Roche says TUE rules are 'ethically wrong' after Sir Bradley Wiggins revelations

Data stolen by hackers from files held by the World Anti-Doping Agency showed Wiggins received three TUEs for anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone

Matt McGeehan
Tuesday 11 October 2016 07:57
Roche finished fourth with Team Sky at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha on Sunday
Roche finished fourth with Team Sky at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha on Sunday

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 files held by the World Anti-Doping Agency showed Wiggins received three TUEs for anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone - a substance 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 each time the TUEs were medically necessary to deal with a pollen allergy that aggravates his long-standing 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 on my Twitter a few weeks ago, when WADA was hacked the first time and before the Wiggins story, there is a major problem with TUEs," Roche said on

"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 he was elected head of the world governing body in September 2013, insisted at the weekend that the rules dictated by WADA had been followed in the case of Wiggins' TUEs.

UK Anti-Doping has launched an investigation into allegations of "wrongdoing" in cycling.

The Daily Mail reported last Thursday that UKAD was investigating Team Sky and Wiggins over the contents of a package allegedly delivered by British Cycling women's team manager Simon Cope to Team Sky at the conclusion of the Criterium du Dauphine stage race in France on June 12, 2011. Cope is now a sporting director for Team Wiggins.

Press Association Sport understands that Wiggins and his representatives have received no notification from UKAD and believe the 36-year-old is not a subject of the investigation.

Wiggins on Saturday welcomed the UKAD investigation, while British Cycling and Team Sky say they are co-operating.

UKAD will not give specifics, only stating that it is investigating "allegations of wrongdoing within cycling" and confirming that two of its investigators met with British Cycling staff at the Manchester Velodrome on Friday.

Brailsford had reportedly been asked to explain by the Daily Mail why Cope was in France on June 12, 2011 and the newspaper reported that Brailsford said Cope was there to see Emma Pooley.

But Pooley was actually racing in the Basque Country in Spain on that date, finishing fourth in the Iurreta-Emakumeen Bira stage race.

Question marks continue to hang over Bradley Wiggins

Team Sky, launched with a zero-tolerance policy to doping in 2010, "strongly refute" any allegation of wrongdoing.

Press Association Sport understands Team Sky and Brailsford have tried to ascertain the events of June 2011, gathering written statements from staff present at the time and documentation to piece together the events.

The logistics surrounding a cycling team are complex and packages are regularly transported.

Determining the contents of the specific package will be central to the investigation, which could take some time. The whereabouts of individuals will be important, too.

Press Association Sport understands the UKAD investigation did not originate from a source within Team Sky or British Cycling, which have been intertwined since the road team was established for their first season in 2010.

Sky's backing of British Cycling dates back to 2008 but that arrangement has now ended. However, the media company remains committed to Team Sky.

British Cycling said on Saturday that Dr Richard Freeman would not accompany the team to Qatar for the week-long UCI Road World Championships, which conclude on October 16.

Freeman was the Team Sky doctor in June 2011 and initiated Wiggins' application for the TUEs for triamcinolone.

Concerns have also been raised about the availability of controversial and powerful painkiller Tramadol among the Great Britain team at the 2012 Road Cycling World Championships.

Tramadol is on WADA's monitoring list, with worries over its side-effects.


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

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in