London - Bradley Wiggins is facing fresh questions about his
medical history after Britain's Daily Mail reported he was at the centre of an
inquiry by United Kingdom Anti-Doping.
The Mail said UKAD wanted to question him and his Team Sky
bosses over a medical package delivered to the British outfit ahead of the 2011
Tour de France.
A UKAD statement issued late Thursday said: "UK
Anti-Doping is investigating an allegation of wrongdoing within cycling. In
order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we will not comment
British cycling great Wiggins has been in the spotlight
since leaked medical data showed the five-time Olympic champion had been
granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) by cycling authorities for the
powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone, which he was permitted to take just days
before the 2012 Tour de France, which he won, as well as the 2011 Tour and the
2013 Giro d'Italia.
Wiggins said he needed the drug to help control his asthma.
But Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin told Netherlands newspaper De
Limburger it was "strange" Wiggins had received the injections
immediately before three Grand Tours.
Triamcinolone has also been used as a doping agent by
riders, including notorious drugs cheat Lance Armstrong, and is believed to
help athletes lose weight, combat fatigue and aid recovery.
The Mail said that while British Cycling has not identified
the substance in the package, it has indicated it did not contain
Team Sky responded to the Mail's story by promising to
investigate the claims, while insisting there was no reason to suspect foul
"Team Sky was contacted by the Daily Mail regarding an
allegation of wrongdoing," the statement read.
"We take any issues such as this very seriously and
immediately conducted an internal review to establish the facts. We are
confident there has been no wrongdoing.
"We informed British Cycling of the allegation and
asked them to contact UKAD, who we will continue to liaise with.
"Team Sky is committed to clean competition. Our
position on anti-doping is well known and we 100 per cent stand by that."
Wiggins, 36, said last week he understood why, on the basis
of the leaked data, concerns had been raised regarding his medical history.
"Without all the context of someone's history then I
could see that on paper maybe, especially the way some of it has been
reported," he told the Guardian, having previously given an interview to
"It was for a very specific thing ... to treat
something that was historically a problem for me and could be quite a serious
problem for me."
A cyber-espionage group called "Fancy Bears",
which is believed to be Russian, has been leaking medical data about famous
athletes after targeting records held by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Wiggins's TUEs were approved by the UCI, cycling's world
governing body, and there is no suggestion either he or Team Sky, for whom he
was riding at the time, have contravened anti-doping rules.
However, both Sky and Wiggins have come under scrutiny given
the British team's much-trumpeted "zero tolerance" policy towards
doping and the rider's criticisms of drug cheats in his autobiographies.
Wiggins's former Sky team-mate Chris Froome, a three-time
Tour de France winner who finished runner-up to his fellow British rider in the
2012 edition, was criticised after it was revealed he received a TUE for a
steroid to treat a chest infection prior to winning the 2014 Tour de Romandie.
"I saw the hysteria that caused and I understand in the
post-Armstrong (era)," Wiggins said.
"But what I don't understand is that you've
automatically just assumed that this was a performance enhancer."
Wiggins, who in 2012 became the first man to win the Tour
and Olympic gold in the same year, said he had not previously made his TUE
record public because he did not want to be seen to be making excuses.
He added that inconsistencies in dates on his medical forms
were due to clerical errors.