Former Team Sky rider calls out Wiggins

LONDON • Britain's cyclists were offered the controversial painkiller tramadol at the 2012 road world championships even if they did not have a medical problem, a former Team Sky rider has claimed.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke also said that Bradley Wiggins' use of an injection of triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid, before his Tour de France rides in 2011 and 2012 looked "suspicious".

The claim came as UK Anti-Doping confirmed that it was investigating "an allegation of wrongdoing" surrounding Team Sky and a delivery of a medication it received from British Cycling on June 12, 2011, the day Wiggins won the Dauphine Libere in France.

British Cycling has confirmed that a medication was delivered to a team member but says that it was not triamcinolone.

Tiernan-Locke's claims on tramadol - which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's monitoring list - will raise concerns about the use of the drug. It has been claimed to numb pain at the end of races but has been linked with causing crashes and teams aligned to the Movement for Credible Cycling have outlawed its use.

British Cycling says that the doctor concerned denies the claims. There is no suggestion any rider took up the offer without a need.

ODD TIMING

You assume if you had a need for such a thing it would be consistent throughout his career, that you'd use it year in year out, so from that point of view, it looks suspicious.

JONATHAN TIERNAN-LOCKE, former Team Sky rider, on Bradley Wiggins' three-year TUE.

The British team in 2012 were mainly made up of Team Sky riders. At that time they did use tramadol - both Chris Froome and Michael Parry have confirmed they used it before 2012 to treat painful conditions. But in 2014 team leaders insisted they had banned its use for the previous two seasons.

Tiernan-Locke, who was sacked by Team Sky for a doping violation in 2014, told BBC Sport: "There was a time I rode the World Championships and we were offered a painkiller called tramadol. I wasn't in any pain so I didn't need to take it, and that was offered freely around. It just didn't sit well with me at the time."

He added that Wiggins' use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for triamcinolone injections before the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France, and the 2013 Giro d'Italia, "definitely looks odd".

He added: "I don't want to insinuate anything but the timing doesn't look great.

"You assume if you had a need for such a thing it would be consistent throughout his career, that you'd use it year in year out, so from that point of view, it looks suspicious."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Former Team Sky rider calls out Wiggins'. Print Edition | Subscribe