Former Team Sky head coach: TUEs could be used to ‘find marginal gains’

Shane Sutton

Bradley Wiggins’s former coach Shane Sutton has told a BBC documentary that he regarded using the therapeutic use exemption system as a legitimate way to find “marginal gains” without breaking anti-doping rules.

Bradley Wiggins had previously said the TUEs he received at the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia were to treat pollen allergies.

“If you’ve got an athlete that’s 95% ready and that little 5% niggle or injury that’s troubling them, if you can get the TUE to get them to 100%, of course you would in them days,” Shane Sutton said.

“The business you’re in is to give you the edge on your opponent and ultimately it’s about killing them off. But you definitely don’t cross the line and that’s something we’ve never done.”

Asked if “finding the gains might mean getting the TUE”, Sutton repeated the question, before adding: “Yes, because the rules allow you to do that.”

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford also features in the documentary, and said the TUEs granted to Wiggins were medically necessary and above board.

“I think if an athlete is hampered by an illness and there is a medication they can have and the TUE criteria is met then, yes, they should,” Brailsford said.

“The doctor came forward and said, ‘I think we have an issue here’. If Brad, the doctor and the consultant all say, ‘That’s what we think we should do’, if (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and (the International Cycling Union) signed this off and it was all absolutely clear and above board, then I was comfortable with that.”

Sutton is now the head coach of China’s track cycling team, having left British Cycling in April 2016 after allegations of discrimination and bullying.


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