Bernhard Eisel (Dimension Data) has offered his opinion on his former squad, Team Sky, and denied that he was part of a group within the squad that allegedly took corticosteroids in a bid to lean up for the Tour de France in 2012.
The allegation was made by an anonymous source cited in the British parliament select committee's report, 'Combatting Doping in Sport.' The allegation has been denied by Bradley Wiggins, who rode for Team Sky and won the Tour de France in 2012, Team Sky and now Eisel. The Austrian rider rode for Team Sky between 2012 and 2015, before moving to Dimension Data the following season.
Speaking at Tirreno-Adriatico, Eisel told Cyclingnews: "I'm not in a position to make my statement about the whole situation about Team Sky, and what was going on. I can talk about myself but there's a lot of speculation, mostly on Twitter and social media. From my side, if you want to ask me, I wasn't on a training camp and I've not used cortisone. That's it from my point. I'm still happy I was at that team, and I had an amazing time at that Tour."
Eisel added that a lack of proof in the public domain in relation to the serious allegation had created a vacuum, within which he felt social media had filled in the blanks. While he called for clarity in the situation and welcomed the UCI's possible investigation into Team Sky, he added that only experts with precise knowledge of the story should be listened to.
"People want clarity, yes, but Floyd Landis isn't going to bring in clarity," Eisel said after the American called for Wiggins' title to be removed.
"I heard that the UCI wants to start an investigation, and that's fine. I think Sky have addressed that and that's the best way to do it. Life has moved on and we're talking about stuff from 2012. I'm here racing and we lost Mark Cavendish yesterday in a crash. I'm also a rider representative so I have quite a lot to do in those positions. I've been thinking about what I should say in an interview but I can't say much. If someone wants to say that a small group went out there and used it [corticosteroids - ed], then how? I wasn't at the training camp so I can't give you any information on that. You can have no proof, be accused and then I have to answer questions afterwards."
Wiggins has come under increasing pressure since the Fancy Bear hackers revealed that he was allowed three TUES in the build-up to Grand Tours between 2011 and 2013. Although within the rules at the time, Wiggins and Team Sky have been accused of essentially gaming the system. Even Team Sky's former coach Shane Sutton has raised questions over the ethics on the team.
"Unfair, fair, it's unfair how people attack him [Wiggins - ed.] with allegations," Eisel added.
"That's not right. MPs looked into it and that's another thing, were they the right people to look into it? You could say I feel sorry for Wiggins, as he's trying to defend himself but I can't help him. I could help him back then, in 2012, to win the Tour but at the same time, I now have to answer questions. I know what I did, and what I didn't do. In my eyes, and there's nothing else and it's just like it says in the report, that the rules were stretched but still within the UCI and WADA rules, but for me, he won the Tour.
"Nothing happened in my time, while I was there, that I saw. People will still not believe it but it is how it is. The questions out there are just there to add speculation and you can't really give an interview anymore because it doesn't matter what you say. Yesterday I had a journalist waiting to give me an interview about it, at the finish of a TTT. Do they really think I'm going to give an interview when my heart rate is 190? It's a difficult subject and that's because you give it room.
"Yesterday we lost Cavendish in a massive crash. I'm more concerned with that, and Edvald Boasson Hagen who is not going great after his operation. The team is not looking good at the moment and that's my biggest concern and focus."