Sunday, 16 October 2016

Bradley Wiggin's cough sweets, and the rules that don't apply to Team Sky.

There are rules in cycling that means the last riders to finish are out of the race if they are too slow.  On Spain's equivalent of the Tour de France last month some Colombians went off like a dose of salts and dumped Team Sky and a few minnows off the back and out of the race.
Following discussions over night the rules were changed and Team Sky were back in.  No surprise really one set of rules for Team Sky and one set for everyone else.
It didn't surprise me therefore that Team Sky were able to push the rules to the max and get Bradley Wiggins on the 'cough sweets'.  I must say, I took it with a pinch of salt when after keeping quiet about using corticosteroids for years, when challenged Bradley Wiggins said he took them for a pollen allergy to get him onto a level playing field with other riders.

For the uninitiated, we're talking about Triamcinolone.  It belongs to a powerful class of drugs called corticosteroids. It prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. We are not talking about an over the counter something or other for hay fever.  We are talking about something at the extreme end of treatment.

Bradley had medics administer him with the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  Following these 'boosters' he went on to win the tour de France and other big events.

When l say boosters, the impact of taking triamcinolone is potentially one hell of a booster!

The 'side effects' according to some former professional sports users are:

* better recovery after exercise - a really important benefit if you are in the tour de France cycling up to 150 miles a day for 3 weeks
*  quicker recovery from injury - a really important benefit if you are in the tour de France cycling up to 150 miles a day for 3 weeks
* and fat burning to get your weight down (for the same amount of muscle power the lighter you are on a bike the quicker you go)  - a really important benefit if you are in the tour de France cycling up to 150 miles a day for 3 weeks

In my view before his most important races of his life he gained himself an unfair advantage. Team Sky insist the drugs were medically necessary to deal with a pollen allergy that aggravates Wiggins’ asthma condition - however the medication he had was extreme, way beyond a bit of anti-histamine.  Also, why was there no medication needed for this allergy before 2013, and why did the problem go away when Bradley quit the top end racing and started to take it easy? 

Tongue in cheek, a couple of top cycle sprinters, tired of certain riders taking potentially performance enhancing drugs on the excuse of having allergies, have said if this is a 'disability' they should quit the pro-tour and try the Paralympics!

The killer question for me is that if Bradley felt there was nothing to be ashamed of why was there no mention of taking Triamcinolone in his 300 page plus autobiography that went into almost forensic detail about his health and diet?

I have been a bit of a cynic since Lance Amstrong.  Now days l think if someone is so good it is hard to believe, perhaps it is?

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