UCI defends TUE use after Russians hack Wiggins, Froome medical records

Governing body says process for granting exemptions is "robust"

The UCI has joined the World Anti-Doping Agency and USADA in condemning the cyber-attacks on WADA's Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS), which was compromised by supposed Russian hackers operating under the nomiker 'Fancy Bear'. Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins were among the athletes whose confidential medical data was made public.

"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) shares WADA and the other Anti-Doping Organisations condemnations of cyber-attacks to release personal data. The UCI has full confidence that WADA will do everything it can to prevent any further attacks and ensure ADAMS security," a UCI statement read.

The documents made public showed that both Froome and Wiggins had been granted multiple Therapeutic Use Exemptions - where athletes are allowed to use drugs that are normally banned in competition because of medical need. Both riders suffered from asthma and allergies and were given permission to use coriticosteroid medications to control the conditions.

The UCI was forced to refine its TUE procedures in 2014 after it was revealed that Froome had been given a TUE specifically 'fast-tracked' by then-UCI scientific advisor Mario Zorzoli.

The Cycling Independent Reform Committee's report in 2015 suggested that some athletes were abusing the TUE process, using corticosteroids to shed weight.

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Today, the UCI assures that the process of granting TUEs is "robust and fully safeguarded".

"The UCI TUE Committee (TUEC) is composed of independent experts in the fields of clinical, sports and exercise medicine and the coordination of the Committee is handled by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI to carry out anti-doping in the sport."

The leaked documents showed that Froome's most recent TUE was in 2014, and was signed by Zorzoli. The next year Froome refused to get a TUE for his exercised-induced asthma. The last TUE for Wiggins was in 2013.

Since the controversy over the fast-tracked TUE for Froome, the UCI says it has required unanimous approval by the committee members.

"A TUE can only be granted if there is unanimity amongst the panel of 3 TUEC members, which constitutes an additional level of rigor and goes beyond the applicable international standards," the UCI stated.

"In addition, the UCI is one of the few International Federations who have been recording the TUEs in ADAMS since the inception of ADAMS. Whilst this was not mandatory at the time, the UCI made that choice for transparency reasons considering that it enables WADA to review TUEs granted by the UCI TUEC."

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