London - Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins says
he is the victim of a "malicious" attempt to smear his reputation,
vehemently denying he has cheated during his glittering career which also
features five Olympic gold medals.
A damning report by lawmakers on Monday said Wiggins and Team
Sky had crossed an "ethical line" by using drugs to enhance
performance and not just to treat medical need.
It comes after Russian computer hackers revealed in 2016
that the British rider had applied for therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to
have injections of the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone before three of
his biggest races, including the 2012 Tour de France, which he won.
But Wiggins said in an interview with the BBC that he only
used prescribed drugs for valid medical reasons and when asked if he
categorically denied cheating, added: "A hundred per cent. Never,
throughout my career."
"This is malicious," said the five-time Olympic
champion, who was the first British cyclist to win the Tour. "This is
someone trying to smear me. These allegations, it's the worst thing to be
"It's also the hardest thing to prove you haven't done.
We're not dealing in a legal system. I'd have had more rights if I'd murdered
The Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee
report centred around the team's use of triamcinolone.
Triamcinolone, used to treat asthma, is an anti-inflammatory
steroid that can also help cyclists shed weight without losing power.
Wiggins, 37, denied the team had crossed an ethical line by
using the medication.
He said he had only used triamcinolone on one occasion other
than the three TUEs, which had already been made public, but the report said he
may have taken it nine times in four years.
"I don't know where that's come from," Wiggins
said. "I really would like to know. This is an anonymous source, this is
an anonymous person who has said this.
"I refute that 100 percent. This is malicious. This is
someone trying to smear me."
Wiggins said he had adhered to the rules in place at the
time and had been granted permission by cycling's governing body to take the
When asked if he would have won the Tour de France without
it in 2012, he replied: "Well, had I had an asthma attack, no, probably
Team Sky said they took full responsibility for mistakes
that were made but strongly refuted the claim that medication was used to
Wiggins said he would try to repair his damaged legacy.
"I don't know how I'm going to pick the pieces up with
the kids and stuff, and I'm left to do that as well as trying to salvage my
reputation from this," he added. "I wouldn't wish it on anyone."