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OPINION: Is the treatment of Bradley Wiggins fair after a damning report from Parliament accuses him and Team Sky of breaking ‘ethical boundaries’?

 

In the past week there has been plenty of speculation and criticism surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs by Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky, which has led to members of his family feeling the wrath of these accusations.

Backbench MP’s have compiled a report stating that Wiggins abused the use of a drug called, Trimcinolone, normally used to treat the breathing condition of asthma, prior to his Tour de France win in 2011.

The report also blasts Team Sky director, Dave Brailsford for crossing an “ethical line” and Lord Coe of misleading MPs about what he knew of corruption and doping in athletics.

Wiggins and Team Sky have seen a huge backlash since the claims with Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian quashing the claims when he spoke to the BBC on the matter, he said he is subject to a “witch hunt”.

As a result his family are getting abused with his children “getting a hammering at school” he went on to describe life at the moment as, “a living hell”.

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Titled ‘Combatting Doping in Sport’, the 52-page report is the work of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee. From which, politicians began to question whether or not Britain’s anti-doping policies were stringent enough following a Sunday Times report into a leaked database of suspicious blood tests by top athletes in 2015.

UK Anti-Doping’s investigation into claims of wrongdoing within cycling gave them fresh targets in 2016 and 2017, one of which seems to be Wiggins.

The findings of the report state it has found “overwhelming evidence” of widespread doping and “acute failures” within several different organisations.

Since its release, the Team Sky rider has faced countless online abusers slamming him for his use of the drug. However, many will be ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ as such, without fully understanding the whole picture.

Wiggins, 37, was granted therapeutic use exemption (TUEs) to take the corticosteroid triamcinolone, which can treat allergies and respiratory issues, shortly before the 2011 Tour de France, his 2012 Tour win and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

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When asked if it was convenient timing before these three major races, Wiggins replied that it was because of the “type of grass pollen I am allergic too”. His records also stated that he hadn’t taken the drug prior to Rio 2016, the cyclist stated he didn’t need it then as he was competing indoors, strengthening his defence further.

Although, this isn’t the first instance of Wiggins and Brailsford’s integrity coming into question, with accusations on the same matter also occurring back in 2016. Wiggins again defended himself, but with an astute choice of words, saying, “he was putting himself on a level playing field.”

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Ironically, the same phrase was used by Lance Armstrong when he appeared on the Prime-time American chat show, Oprah, to talk about his doping abuse throughout his career, in which he won seven Tour de France titles. But, we can’t be drawing comparisons.

However, this latest accusation does highlight the continual problems that the sport of cycling has had with doping, at a time when regulation and testing has been at its most stringent. There needs to be more clarity throughout the sport, in which everyone is trying to one up their competitors and give them an edge going in to competition.

For now, we’re going to have to take Sir Bradley’s word and trust in one of Britain’s most cherished athletes that he wouldn’t threaten his legacy without a legitimate reason for needing the drug.

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