Olympic great Sir Steve Redgrave has questioned the point in attacking Sir Bradley Wiggins’ use of Therapeutic Use Exemption drugs like corticosteroid.
The five time gold medalist spoke to the BBC about the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee report that said Team Sky and Wiggins had “crossed an ethical line” when they used UCI approved drugs despite not having broken any rules.
Sir Steve, a sufferer of diabetes, had to take insulin in the last three years of his career which had to be approved. “Without it I wouldn’t have been able to compete” he said, “You take what you need to and it’s down to the rule makers to decide is that a banned drug or not”.
“In 2012 when he won the Tour de France then a few weeks later was competing in the Olympics, there didn’t seem to be a problem with what he was doing, he passed all the drug tests at that stage.”
Redgrave targeted the system in place that allows riders to take drugs but then questions their ethics for doing so, saying that the system should change.
“You should be questioning the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), and all the agencies and not pinpointing an individual,” the 55-year-old said.
“If the system’s wrong, we change the system. If this drug shouldn’t be used for the treatment that it is and if it has enhancing properties, get it on to the banned list, it’s as simple as that.
“People keep saying Team Sky haven’t done anything wrong but have stepped over the ethical line but if they’ve got all the right paper to prove they haven’t done anything wrong then the system’s wrong.
“If there is this grey area which has been introduced recently over the ethics of it – it’s legal or it’s not, simple as that – take away the grey area.”
UCI President, David Lappartient, has said that the sport’s governing body will look into making reforms regarding the use of TUEs and how they effect riders.
However, only a handful of riders actually use TUEs for drugs with just 20 TUEs being granted by the UCI in 2017.
The debate over the grey area between rules and ethics has seen riders like Geraint Thomas call for the TUE system to be completely scrapped, a move that has angered some other riders.
Do you agree that TUEs should be done away with or salvaged? Let us know.