British consternation over fancy bears leaks

Mo Farah doing the "mobot" after retaining his 10,000m title at the Rio Olympics last month. The runner was one of eight British athletes who had their medical data released by the Fancy Bears hacking group.
Mo Farah doing the "mobot" after retaining his 10,000m title at the Rio Olympics last month. The runner was one of eight British athletes who had their medical data released by the Fancy Bears hacking group.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Wiggins faces calls for ban on drug use; Farah, Nadal latest to be named by group

LONDON • Prominent anti-doping campaigner David Millar has said the in-competition use of triamcinolone, the drug used by Bradley Wiggins before the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia races between 2011 and 2013, should be outlawed.

Millar, a former professional cyclist who was himself banned from the sport in 2004 after admitting to doping, also told the Daily Telegraph that there should be a full public disclosure of therapeutic exemptions (TUEs), the details of which have been at the heart of the widely publicised Fancy Bears website leaks in recent days.

He argued that Kenacort, a trade name for triamcinolone, was the most potent drug he took and described it as performance-enhancing.

  • Therapeutic exemptions


    Used for 

    A corticosteroid that acts as an anti-inflammatory and can treat conditions such as allergic reactions and breathing disorders

    Therapeutic exemptions used by

    Mo Farah, Venus Williams


    Used for 

    Treating breathing conditions such as asthma

    Used by 

    Alex Danson, Crista Cullen, Callum Skinner, Helen Glover, Nicola Adams, Samantha Quek, Laura Trott, Charley Hull, Bradley Wiggins


    Used for 

    Help with breathing problems such as asthma

    Used by 

    Danson, Cullen, Adams, Trott


    Used for

    Treating conditions such as asthma as well as skin complaints

    Used by 

    Danson, Cullen, Adams


    Used for 

    Anti-inflammatory used for conditions such as allergic reactions

    Used by

    Danson, Heather Fisher


    Used for 

    Conditions such as asthma

    Used by

    Skinner, Justin Rose, Fisher, Serena Williams, Venus Williams


    Used for 

    Conditions such as asthma

    Used by 

    Wiggins, Venus Williams


    Used for

    Treating allergies

    Used by 



"As I said in my book (Racing Through The Dark)," Millar explained, "I took EPO and testosterone patches, and they obviously produce huge differences in your blood and you felt at your top level…

"Kenacort, though, was the only one you took and three days later you looked different. It's quite scary because it's catabolic so it's eating into you. It felt destructive. It felt powerful."

He concluded: "We (athletes) shouldn't have to face this. If it's that strong we shouldn't be allowed to take it unless there is a serious issue. And if we're suffering from that serious an issue, we shouldn't be racing. I don't know how a doctor could prescribe it (before a race). I can't fathom it."

Wiggins' use of triamcinolone was revealed when the Fancy Bears hackers published medical data stored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) on their site last week.

Following the leaks, Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic champion, was forced to clarify comments made in his 2012 autobiography that he strictly observed cycling's "no needles" policy, despite having injections of triamcinolone before the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour de France, with a third coming shortly before the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

Yesterday, Mo Farah became the latest British athlete to face scrutiny over his use of TUEs after his confidential medical data, along with those of seven more British athletes who took part in the Rio Olympics, was leaked online by Fancy Bears.

Rower Helen Glover, golfer Justin Rose and three members of the triumphant women's hockey team are among the 26 athletes affected, along with Rafael Nadal, the Spanish 14-time grand slam tennis champion.

There were no surprises in the leak of Farah's data, which confirmed that he had been granted two TUEs over the past eight years.

Farah, also under pressure over his links with the controversial coaches Alberto Salazar and Jama Aden, confirmed in the past that he had applied for two legitimate TUEs, although he initially claimed to have had only one.

"As Mo has previously stated, he has got nothing to hide," his spokesman said. "Mo's medical care is overseen at all times by British Athletics and over the course of his long career he has only ever had two TUEs."

Nadal's TUEs are likely to prompt further questions after it emerged that he received intramuscular injections of tetracosactide, which stimulates corticosteroids production and has been named in several doping cases involving cyclists.

The Spaniard was injured at the time the certificate was retrospectively applied for in August 2012.

On Monday Nadal told Spanish media: "When you ask permission to take something for therapeutic reasons and they give it to you, you're not taking anything prohibited. It's not news, it's just inflammatory."

Nadal, who has twice been granted a TUE, said he had never taken anything to improve his performance but took what doctors advised him was the best medication to care for his troublesome knee.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2016, with the headline 'British consternation over fancy bears leaks'. Print Edition | Subscribe