Roche insists TUE rules are 'ethically wrong'
Published 11/10/2016 | 02:30
Team Sky's Nicolas Roche has described the decision to seek permission for Bradley Wiggins to use an otherwise banned drug as "ethically wrong".
The Irish rider, who joins BMC Racing in 2017, blamed the rules surrounding therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for the furore which has erupted around Wiggins and Dave Brailsford's Team Sky squad.
Data stolen by hackers from files held by the World Anti-Doping Agency showed Wiggins received three TUEs for anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone - a substance which has a history of abuse in cycling - on the eve of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and 2013 Giro d'Italia. He became the first British Tour winner in 2012.
Wiggins and Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director until April 2014, have strenuously denied any wrongdoing, insisting each time the TUEs were medically necessary to deal with a pollen allergy that aggravates his long-standing asthma condition.
The TUEs also had the approval of the UCI, cycling's world governing body, and there is no suggestion that Wiggins, who left Team Sky in April 2015, or the team have broken any rules.
Roche finished fourth with Team Sky at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha on Sunday.
"Like I said already on my Twitter a few weeks ago, when WADA was hacked the first time and before the Wiggins story, there is a major problem with TUEs," Roche said on cyclingnews.com.
"There is a problem with the actual system. Again, you can do whatever you want against Wiggins, but unfortunately, as far as ethically it's wrong, he is within the rules.
"It is wrong that these rules are like that. That's where the main problem is. Once we get those rules right, there won't be any abuse, but that's the priority."
Confusion reigned yesterday over Wiggins's participation in next week's Abu Dhabi Tour, with the organisers of the four-day race adamant that the Briton would compete, but no confirmation from the rider himself.
Some sources have suggested that Wiggins may come under pressure to skip the final three races of his career - the Abu Dhabi Tour, and the London and Ghent Six Day races - while the Ukad investigation continues.