Defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome reiterated his call for the World Anti-Doping Agency to tighten up its rules regarding the use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) by athletes, and says he rejected using them for moral reasons.
Froome was questioned during a press conference with the British media today about the use of TUEs by Team Sky, and about the current inquiry by UK Anti-Doping surrounding the team.
Froome distanced himself from the inquiry, saying that he has been focusing more on training and the upcoming season, and has only discussed his schedule with Brailsford.
Team Sky's relationship with British Cycling, and its use of then-women's national team manager Simon Cope to deliver an (until recently 'mysterious') medical package to Bradley Wiggins in 2011, has been the subject of a parliamentary inquiry during which Froome's boss David Brailsford testified that the bag contained Fluimucil.
Since late last year, the focus of criticism has been on Wiggins, whose TUE data was leaked to the public along with Froome's by hackers. Wiggins received TUEs to use injectable corticosteroids to treat asthma before the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and ahead of the 2013 Giro d'Italia.
According to BBC, Froome says that it is "healthy" to ask questions about why the UCI granted Wiggins these TUEs, but that controversy surrounding it is "not good for sport in general".
"The fact that we're discussing the validity of results, that brings it back to the authorities, it is something they need to tighten up on so that there aren't questions being asked anymore."
"The fact that we're having that debate about authenticity means there's a problem with the system," Froome said.
"I think WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency] need to tighten their regulations around TUEs, so they're not something that we question, their legitimacy."
In 2014, Froome's use of a TUE for oral corticosteroids at the Tour de Romandie in a process accelerated by then-UCI scientific advisor Mario Zorzoli. The move was heavily criticised by the French media, but Froome and the UCI said at the time that the procedure was legitimate.
The following year, Froome refused to take advantage of the TUE system, despite being ill during the Tour de France, saying at the time that despite it being within the rules to do so, he did not want to invite "a whole new wave of criticism and aggression".
"I didn't feel having a TUE in the last week of the Tour was something I was prepared to do. It did not sit well morally with me," Froome said today.