World cycling boss urges probe into Team Sky

LONDON • Team Sky are facing a probe by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling's world governing body, into what its president has described as "unacceptable" practices.

David Lappartient wants the ruling body's independent anti-doping division to investigate after Monday's damning British parliamentary report concluded that Team Sky manipulated the exemption system to give retired cyclist Bradley Wiggins a drug to improve his performance before his 2012 Tour de France victory.

He told BBC Sport on Wednesday: "If you are using substances to increase your performances, I think this is exactly what is cheating."

Sky have strongly denied using the therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for anything other than medical needs, but Lappartient's move will heap pressure on team principal Dave Brailsford.

The report said Sky crossed the line when they obtained a TUE for Wiggins, Britain's most-decorated Olympian, to inject corticosteroid triamcinolone before three of his biggest races on the basis that it was to treat a pollen allergy.

Lappartient said: "It's in the report that substances were used not for health problems or with strong pain, but to increase performances, then, yes, that is something unacceptable for me and the philosophy we have, even if it seems there is no violation of the rules.

"They had at the time the TUE agreement. Now we have evidence that it seems to be organised."

He added that the controversy threatened the credibility of the sport globally.

Sky's apologetic tone in their press release in response to the report also cut little ice with the Frenchman. He said: "A mistake is something you've done without an intention to be wrong. The report is a little bit different."

Wiggins has claimed that he is the victim of a malicious smear campaign and has never cheated, while Sky said on Wednesday they were "happy to cooperate with any investigation by the UCI and would welcome further scrutiny of the select committee's report".

Lappartient also said it would be a "disaster" if defending champion and Sky leader Chris Froome rode in this year's Tour despite his adverse drugs finding.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2018, with the headline 'World cycling boss urges probe into Team Sky'. Print Edition | Subscribe