Saturday 22 July 2017

Farah's training partner Rupp among latest names in 'Fancy Bear' leak

Bradley Wiggins has been under scrutiny since the five-time Olympic champion’s medical records were leaked last week. Picture: Getty Images
Bradley Wiggins has been under scrutiny since the five-time Olympic champion’s medical records were leaked last week. Picture: Getty Images

Ben Rumsby

Mo Farah's training partner was among the latest Olympic athletes to have their secret drugs records leaked yesterday after Russian hackers struck again.

London 2012 silver medallist Galen Rupp, who was accused of doping in a BBC Panorama programme last year, saw medical exemptions for the use of three otherwise-banned substances published by cyber-criminals who broke into his confidential files.

Rupp was one of 41 competitors from Rio 2016 in yesterday's fifth wave of leaks by the Fancy Bears group.

The documents showed historic Therapeutic Use Exemptions for what appeared in each athlete's case to be asthma medication that is no longer on the banned list.

One of Rupp's TUEs also looked to be for a now-legal asthma inhaler, with the other for methylprednisolone tablets, which can also treat the condition but remains prohibited without a medical exemption.

Confirmation that Rupp has only had two such exemptions during his career followed a similar disclosure about Farah.

Their coach, Alberto Salazar, was last year accused of manipulating the TUE system along with a string of other alleged offences that are still being investigated, including that he doped Rupp with testosterone.

Salazar and Rupp both strenuously deny any wrongdoing, while there is no suggestion that Farah or any other athlete in the Fancy Bears leaks has ever broken anti-doping rules.

Switzerland's Rio cycling gold medallist Fabian Cancellara was also among the athletes named yesterday, as was American golfer Patrick Reed.

Meanwhile, Bradley Wiggins will discuss his decision to take triamcinolone before three of the biggest races of his career on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC tomorrow morning.

Wiggins' decision to apply for TUEs to take the corticosteroid, which is banned in-competition without a TUE, has been under huge scrutiny since the five-time Olympic champion's medical records were leaked last week.

The records showed that the 2012 Tour de France champion received intramuscular injections of triamcinolone shortly before the 2011 and 2012 Tours, and the 2013 Giro d'Italia, to treat hay fever.

Although there is no suggestion that Wiggins or Team Sky broke any rules, the TUEs have raised eyebrows due to their timing, the fact that the now banned doctor Geert Leinders was with Team Sky at the time, the fact that Wiggins said in his 2012 autobiography My Time that he had only ever received injections for "immunisations and some drips", and the fact that triamcinolone is known to have been used by dopers in the past.

David Millar, who was banned for doping in 2004, said this week that the drug was the most potent thing he took in his career, and that included the banned blood booster EPO and testosterone.

Millar said it helped him to lose weight and still feel stronger than he did before. He called for the drug to be banned in-competition even with a TUE.

Medical experts have also added that triamcinolone would normally be a "last resort" drug due to its side-effects.

A statement released last week on Wiggins's behalf said there was "nothing new" in the revelations.

"Everyone knows Brad suffers from asthma," it said.

"His medical treatment is BC (British Cycling) and UCI approved, and he follows WADA regulations to the letter."

A follow-up statement over the weekend dismissed any suggestion that Leinders had been involved in the TUE application, and said Wiggins's comment in his book regarding needles "referred to the historic (illegal) practice of intravenous injections of performance enhancing substances which was the subject of the 2011 UCI law change.

"The traimcinolone injection that is referred to in the WADA leaks is an intramuscular treatment for asthma, is fully approved by the sport's governing bodies and Brad stands by his comment concerning the use of illegal intravenous needle injections." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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