London - The admission by former Great Britain and Team Sky
coach Shane Sutton of the exploitation of therapeutic use exemptions have
"muddied the waters" around Bradley Wiggins, one top cyclist said.
Sutton was asked in a BBC documentary broadcast on Sunday to
justify the TUEs that Wiggins received in order to take a corticosteroid before
his three biggest races in 2011, 2012 and 2013, including his 2012 Tour de
A TUE is a dispensation, approved by doctors and the world
governing body, to take an otherwise banned drug for medical reasons.
Sutton, the newly appointed head of China's track cycling
programme, said if you have a rider with a "little five per cent injury or
niggle that's troubling them, if you can get that TUE to get them to 100 per
cent, then of course you would in those days".
Sutton, who used to be British Cycling's technical director,
explained it was about finding "an edge" and said it fitted in with
the "marginal gains" philosophy that Dave Brailsford adopted with
Great Britain and then at Team Sky, the dominant road racing team.
Wiggins and Sky have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing - saying
the drug was prescribed to treat a longstanding pollen allergy. In the
documentary Sutton said they would never "cross the line".
But Olympic team pursuit champion Katie Archibald said
Sutton's comments were outrageous and "completely against the ethics of
Paralympic cycling gold medallist Jody Cundy it was
"disappointing to hear the TUE system was abused in the way it has
When asked if this changed his view of Wiggins, Cundy said:
"Yes, it muddies the water."
British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington said she
had "absolute clarity" that TUEs are "not a performance
"I was really disappointed," she added. "When
people are using language around TUEs they need to be very mindful of the
effect that could have on the public's perception and the athletes'