Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have become the latest victims in the Wada (World Anti-doping Agency) hacking scandal. A group of Russian hackers by the name of 'Fancy Bears' included the two British cyclists in their latest batch of medical files stolen from doping's governing body and dumped online on Thursday (15 September).
Fancy Bears published detailed files outlining Therapeutic Use Exemptions – TUEs – used by the pair over the years. TUEs allow athletes to use otherwise banned substances on verified medical grounds. While they are widely used in sport, the hackers view them as "licences for doping".
Neither Froome, Wiggins nor any of the other names mentioned so far have committed any offences. Their TUEs were all approved by respective sporting federations and national anti-doping organisations. But the documents will inevitably raise questions about the use of TUEs in the coming days.
So what substances have Froome and Wiggins used over the years after being granted TUEs?
- 21 May 2013 - prednisolone (40mg oral dosage, once per day for five days)
- 27 April 2014 - prednisolone (40mg oral dosage, once per day for seven days)
Froome has never concealed his use of TUEs and took a nonchalant approach to the latest leak. The 31-year-old has won the Tour de France three times, under constant scrutiny following a dark period for elite cycling and latest developments seemed to have caused little concern in his camp. "I've openly discussed my TUEs with the media and have no issues with the leak which confirms my statements," he declared.
Froome added he has used a TUE twice in his nine-year career and explained in his statement the use of banned steroid prednisolone was for the treatment of 'exacerbated asthma' in 2014 during a seven-day period at the Tour of Romandie in April 2014.
Froome was also granted permission by the UCI to take the substance in 2013 for a five-day period during the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Prednisolone, a type pf corticosteroid, was also listed as a substance Serena Williams was permitted to use in the initial leak from the Russian hackers. It is typically used to treat inflammatory and allergic conditions and is widely used for the treatment of asthma. It is also used to treat certain blood disorders and arthritis. The drug works by suppressing the body's immune system in order to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Sir Bradley Wiggins
- 13 June 2008 - salbutamol (200ug inhalation dosage, as needed for 12-month period)
- 12 December 2008 - salbutamol (inhalation dosage, as needed for 12-month period)
- 16 December - salbutamol (two puff dosage twice a day for 12-month period), formoterol (two puff dosage twice a day for 12-month period) and budesonide (inhalation dosage twice a day for 12 month period)
- 26 June 2011 – triamcinolone acetonide (50mg intramuscular dosage, one time injection)
- 29 June 2011 - triamcinolone acetonide (50mg intramuscular dosage, one time injection)
- April 2013 - triamcinolone acetonide (50mg intramuscular dosage, one time injection)
Like Froome, Wiggins has never made a secret of his use of TUEs to treat asthma. Documents leaked detailed his use of salbutamol, formoterol and budesonide in 2008 and 2009. He was also permitted to use triamcinolone acetonide in June 2011 and June 2012, with notes on the documents explaining it was used to treat a "life-long history of upper respiratory and ocular allergy", and "known allergy to grass pollen".
Salbutamol, formoterol and budesonide, the latter two, which were taken together by Wiggins, have been successfully used for the speedy relief of asthma symptoms to suppress any temporary increase in airway inflammation.