Former pro David Millar told the Telegraph this week that the corticosteroid Bradley Wiggins used with a Therapeutic Use Exemption should be banned, and that he "couldn't fathom" a doctor prescribing it for a rider before competition.
Speaking with the Telegraph in light of recent revelations about Wiggins' use of the drug before the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and before the 2013 Giro d’Italia, Millar said the corticosteroid was the "most potent" performance enhancing drug he used in his own career. Millar, now retired and working as a cycling commentator, was suspended for two seasons starting in 2004 after admitting drug use.
The revelations about Wiggins' TUEs, which also included UCI-approved use of the asthma drugs salbutamol, formoterol and budesonide (from December 2008 until December 2009) were revealed in the "Fancy Bears" hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency's website. Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour de France, received six TUEs while riding Team Sky and other teams, according to the medical records revealed in the Fancy Bear hacking. Wiggins rode with Millar at Garmin in 2009.
"As I said in my book [Racing Through The Dark], I took EPO and testosterone patches, and they obviously produce huge differences in your blood, and you felt at your top level," Millar told the Telegraph. "…Kenacort [one of the commercial names for triamcinolone. Ed], though, was the only one you took and three days later you looked different.
"I remember it was one of the reasons I took sleeping pills because Kenacort put you on this weird high. It's quite scary because it's catabolic so it's eating into you. It felt destructive. It felt powerful."
Millar refused to comment directly on Wiggins' TUEs, according to the Telegrah report, but he did say he could "not imagine how bad it must be to have severe allergies and to need it."
Millar said the drug, which can help with weight loss, was without a doubt performance enhancing.
"You would do all the training but my weight would stick," he said. "But if I took Kenacort, 1.5-2kgs would drop off in like a week. And not only would the weight drop off, I would feel stronger.
"If you are non-asthmatic and you take Ventolin it's not going to give you any advantage. But if you take Kenacort it's not only going to make a sick person better, it's going to make a sick person better than a healthy person. That’s a very grey area.
"I'm sure there are other forms of cortisone that could be used for allergies which aren't so potent or performance-enhancing.
"We [athletes] shouldn't have to face this. If it's that strong we shouldn't be allowed to take it unless there is a serious issue,” he told the Telegraph.
"And if we're suffering from that serious an issue, we shouldn't be racing. I don't know how a doctor could prescribe it [before a race]. I can't fathom it."