Bryan Steel, a former teammate of Bradley Wiggins, has said that he knows the 2012 Tour de France champion has 'never doped'. Steel, who won bronze and silver in the team pursuit at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games with Wiggins, defended his use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs).
Wiggins and his former team boss Dave Brailsford have been under scrutiny since the rider’s TUE data was leaked by hackers, and subsequent revelations that a medical package for Wiggins was flown from Manchester to France after the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. Brailsford later told the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that the package contained the decongestant Fluimicil, a substance not on the banned list. However, the team remains under investigation by UK Anti-Doping.
“Within British cycling, they have the same mind-set as me as I’m very anti-doping and am an ambassador against it,” Steel told nottstv.com.
“Personally, we know Bradley very well and I know that he’s never doped. TUEs, therapeutic use exemptions that allow athletes to take banned substances, are part of the job really and sometimes you have to take medication for coughs and colds. I used to carry them myself but never used to take them – I just had them as a precautionary thing really.”
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Steel went on to say that it is possible that Wiggins hadn’t taken the medication and a TUE was applied for ‘just in case.’ In the case of the Fluimicil, it has not been confirmed whether or not it was administered to Wiggins, but the rider has stated that the triamcinolone acetonide, which the TUE was applied for, was taken in order to combat the effects of a pollen allergy.
“I would imagine some of the issues surrounding Brad were with his TUEs he was carrying but he probably wasn’t taking that medication,” said Steel. “There was nothing illegal – the British cycling doctor would never allow doping to happen, it’s just a case of maybe he’s got a cough and they can happen all the time in poor weather conditions.
“He may be carrying one just in case the medication was given by the doctor and he’d be carrying that certification just to prove that.”
It is not yet known when the UK Anti-Doping investigation will come to a close, but both Wiggins and Brailsford have denied any wrongdoing.