Wednesday 20 November 2019

Watch: 'This is someone trying to smear me, my life is a living hell' - Bradley Wiggins denies 'malicious' doping allegations

Bradley Wiggins speaking to the BBC's Dan Roan
Bradley Wiggins speaking to the BBC's Dan Roan

Tom Cary

Bradley Wiggins has launched an impassioned defence of his career saying he “100 per cent never cheated”, nor did he ever cross the “ethical line” to which MPs referred in their stinging report into doping which was published yesterday. And he added that his life had become a “living hell” with his children getting “a hammering at school" which was "disgusting to witness”.

Wiggins was accused in the 52-page document - by his own former coach  Shane Sutton no less - of bending the rules to gain a performance  advantage by using a corticosteroid, triamcinolone, when he did not  have a genuine medical need for it. “What Brad was doing was  unethical, but not against the rules,” Sutton told MPs.

Wiggins said that allegation, from a man who was like a father to him,  “hurt” him. And in an hour-long interview with the BBC, he added that:

  • He had “never crossed the ethical line” in his career
  • He was diagnosed with pollen allergies back in 2003 by the doctors at  British Cycling
  • He had only used triamcinolone once out of competition, on top of the three TUEs
  • That an anonymous whistleblower in the DCMS report was trying to  “smear” him “maliciously”
  • That he had not been able to defend himself and would have had “more  rights if he’d murdered someone”
  • That he had no idea what was in the ‘jiffybag' sent to him in the 2011  Criterium du Dauphine
  • That the effects on his family have been “horrific”

Wiggins, who made history back in 2012 when he became the first Briton  ever to win cycling’s biggest race the Tour de France, had threatened  to have his say following publication of the stinging DCMS report. And  he came out swinging. There will, though, be many left sceptical  despite his emotional protestations.

It was not immediately apparent on the basis of the short video shown  on the BBC News at 6 o clock last night whether Wiggins had provided  any evidence to back up his claim that he was diagnosed with pollen  allergies in 2003, whether he was aware of the taboo surrounding the  drug and therefore whether he might have considered an alternative  option, or why Sutton might have wanted to mislead MPs.

“Yeah that hurts me actually,” Wiggins said of Sutton’s comment.  “Shane knows around that time, exactly why I was taking that  medication.”

As well as the three Therapeutic Use Exemptions which were leaked as  part of the WADA hack by Russian group Fancy Bears in 2016, Wiggins  insisted he only ever took triamcinolone once out of competition,  which is legal without a TUE. The report suggested - on the basis of  evidence given to them by Team Sky, which was that “less than 10  ampoules” of triamcinolone had been given to riders in a four-year  period - that Wiggins might have taken the drug up to nine times.  “I have no idea where that’s come from,” Wiggins said. “I really would  like to know. This is an anonymous source.”

The committee also heard evidence from “a well-placed and respected  source” that, in the build-up to the 2012 season, “Bradley Wiggins and  a smaller group of riders trained separately from the rest of the  team” and that “they were all using corticosteroids out of competition  to lean down in preparation for the major races that season”.

Asked directly if it was a lie, Wiggins added: “Absolutely. I refute  that 100 per cent. This is malicious this. This is a direct… this is  someone trying to smear me.”

Wiggins said he had never crossed the “ethical line” to which MPs and  Sutton referred. “No we didn’t. Not at any time in my career did we  cross the ethical line,” he said. “As I’ve said before, I had a  medical condition [since] 2003 when I was diagnosed with it through  the doctors at British Cycling at that time. This wasn't medication  that was abused in order to get an advantage.

“It’s the worst thing to be accused of. I’ve said that before. But  it’s also the hardest thing to prove you haven’t done. Because we’re  not dealing with the legal system. I’d have had more rights if I’d  murdered someone in this process.

“I’ve been gagged for the last 18 months because of the legal  investigation - so I couldn’t say anything. Then we were still waiting  on this DCMS report. These allegations have never been put to me  before. I’ve only found out today what I’m actually being accused of.  I mean, the whole jiffy bag thing was an absolute shambles.”

Asked what was in the jiffy bag delivered to him in 2011, which was  the subject of a UK Anti-Doping probe, Wiggins added: “God knows. Your  guess is as good as mine. That package - as we’ve been told in the  houses of parliament [in last year’s hearings] contained Fluimucil. I  had Fluimucil that night… whether it came out of that package or not…  maybe it did, if they were short of it, if they needed more brought out then maybe yeah. I was on Fluimucil that whole week.

“The way it has been reported is as if I have ordered this package and  I am waiting for DHL to deliver it for me, and I have got to sign for  it, 'thanks for the medical package’. I don't run the team, I don't  run the logistics of the team, I was busy doing my job that I was paid  to do.”

He added: "The widespread effect on the family. It’s horrific. I don’t  know how I’m going to pick the pieces up, with the kids and stuff. But  I’m left to do that, at the same time as trying to salvage my  reputation. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

The Left Wing: Champions Cup returns, Jacob Stockdale's development, and Simon Zebo goes back to Munster

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport