Updated: UCI rejects claims Chris Froome given preferential treatment to use corticosteroid

French newspaper said governing body failed to follow correct procedure - UCI says it did

by Simon_MacMichael   June 15, 2014  

Chris Froome celebrates winning the 2013 Tour de France (picture copyright Simon Wilkinson:SWpix.com)

A French newspaper has claimed that world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, bent anti-doping rules to provide Chris Froome with a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to permit him to take a corticosteroid during this year's Tour de Romandie, which began on 29 April. In response UCI president Brian Cookson has said that "nothing out of the ordinary occured."

Le Journal du Dimanche says that Froome was allowed to use the drug prednisoloneto treat a chill, after Team Sky doctor Alan Farrell secured authorisation from the UCI’s medical director, Mario Zorzoli, reports AFP.

Using words such as “connivance” and “complicity” in the article, the newspaper pulled no punches in claiming that Froome received favourable treatment and points out that UCI president Brian Cookson’s son, Oli, is employed by Team Sky.

It cited one expert, Dr Gerard Guillaume, who said the UCI had not followed the correct procedures in granting Froome, who went on to win the race for the second year running, the TUE.

He said: "The rules state that taking steroids by mouth is prohibited during competition and that if a cyclist displays a condition requiring such a treatment, he is clearly not fit to take part and that any request for a TUE must be considered by a group of experts."

Under the World Anti-Doping Code, applications for a TUE should be considered by a committee comprising at least three physicians, although the UCI’s own rules permit the decision in individual cases to be made by one person.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is said to be investigating the issue.

This afternoon, the UCI rejected the newspaper's claims in a strongly worded statement, saying:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has looked into the matter regarding the grant of recent Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) and confirms that nothing out of the ordinary occurred in the case of Team Sky rider Christopher Froome.



Christopher Froome’s TUE for oral use of glucocorticosteroids was granted on April 29, 2014 based on duly documented medical history and in compliance with the applicable UCI Regulations and the relevant WADA guidelines. The TUE was granted for a limited period, following the usual procedure. 

The process was fully transparent as it is UCI’s policy to systematically record all TUEs on ADAMS. WADA was therefore informed throughout the process.



The UCI wishes to emphasise that under the applicable rules – which are consistent with the WADA Code and the WADA TUE Standard and Guidelines – any rider with the same symptoms as Christopher Froome would have received a similar TUE.



The UCI would like to express its profound disappointment with the speculations that have been made suggesting its President could have any influence on the granting of TUEs. The UCI President and the UCI Administration have absolutely no involvement with decisions on TUEs. Insinuating that Brian Cookson’s son’s employment with Team Sky could have something to do with the decision to grant the TUE is an unfounded allegation which will be dealt with seriously.

It’s the second time this week that Froome’s use of medication has been in the spotlight. On Monday, TV coverage of the Critérium du Dauphiné showed him using an inhaler while riding Stage 2, which he won.

Quoted by AFP, he explained: "I have had an inhaler since childhood, I have exercise induced asthma. It is ok. I didn't need a TUE.

"I don’t use (the inhaler) every time I race, normally only when I have a big effort coming up.

"Given sports history, people are obviously looking for a reason. There's no reason to make a big deal out. It's completely allowed by the UCI.

"It's a bit of a surprise everyone is talking about it," he added.

The Tour de France champion lost his lead in the Dauphiné yesterday to Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador, and went into today’s final stage trailing the Spaniard by 8 seconds.

 

48 user comments

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Gasman Jim wrote:
1. It's prednisolone not penisolone.

Ha, thought that was what I read yesterday. I reckon penisolone would be a good name for a treatment for excessive onanism. Wink

ColT's picture

posted by ColT [210 posts]
16th June 2014 - 3:42

10 Likes

shay cycles wrote:
Maybe not much effect from 20mg but I've had the experience of 80mg daily and after 2-3 weeks the effect was very significant. As an amateur there was no TUE so I stopped racing straight away. That course of treatment for an eye disease lasted 8 months and effectively put a stop to my racing career.

Hi Shay, not sure if you were racing in the UK, but there's certainly TUE for amateur's here. I have type-1 diabetes so inject insulin, which is on the WADA/BC prohibited substances list. I checked with the compliance officer at British Cycling (really helpful chap) before I started racing again and he confirmed that if I get tested (highly unlikely at my level...) then I apply afterwards for TUE. So for others definitely worth checking as it'd be a shame to stop racing if you don't need to.

posted by The Mewster [1 posts]
16th June 2014 - 7:21

8 Likes

giobox wrote:

Insinuating that Brian Cookson’s son’s employment with Team Sky could have something to do with the decision to grant the TUE is an unfounded allegation which will be dealt with seriously.

The Cookson/Cookson situation is a tough one. In a perfect world if he merits the job, Oli should be free to work for whomever regardless of who his father is. However, are we really to believe this will never give rise to a conflict of interest, even indirectly?

Given that the UCI President, regardless of who they are, have no involvement in the issuing of TUEs I can't see how Senor Cookson senior would have influence.

Look at it the other way, could you imagine the UCI suddenly decide they were going to start blocking riders from competing simply because they don't want or can't be bothered to use a procedure that is available to them and perfectly legal?

posted by farrell [1443 posts]
16th June 2014 - 8:37

10 Likes

If Froome was winning using an inhaler then what the hell went wrong on final Dauphine stage?

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [955 posts]
16th June 2014 - 8:55

11 Likes

antonio wrote:
If Froome was winning using an inhaler then what the hell went wrong on final Dauphine stage?

Inhalers are pretty good for helping with asthma but absolutely rubbish at helping with the after effects of crashing a bike at 30/35 mph.

posted by farrell [1443 posts]
16th June 2014 - 10:13

12 Likes

farrell wrote:
antonio wrote:
If Froome was winning using an inhaler then what the hell went wrong on final Dauphine stage?

Inhalers are pretty good for helping with asthma but absolutely rubbish at helping with the after effects of crashing a bike at 30/35 mph.

What in hells name makes you jump to that conclusion - there doesn't appear to be any film of Froome crashing and all we have are the before and after shots - one moment he was merrily pedaling along riding his bike with a bunch of fine upstanding fellows and the next thing we saw was Froome with a torn shirt and, what looked like, a bloodied elbow.

This is Team Sky and 'Sky' are a television company, so a much more logical explanation is that Froome got off his bike and then a highly skilled makeup artist, using some prepared prosthesis's, made it look like he had crashed and then moments later we saw him back on a bike - it fits all of the facts as we know them and definitely explains everything... plus it makes even more sense seeing as I know Froome is a lizard person and a member of the Illuminati and he also owns his own flying saucer and none of this demands that I have to turn reality inside out just to make the few facts we know make sense. Nerd

posted by leqin [103 posts]
16th June 2014 - 12:43

20 Likes

Argue all you like about whether it was in the rules or not in the rules and what Brian Cookson has to do with TUEs - it's not the point.

The problem is it looks bad, and given the history of the sport both in terms of drug use and cronyism it looks even worse.

Even if the rules were followed, Sky have set out their stall to be a cleaner-than-clean team. To me that doesn't sit right with a rider taking prescribed medication to compete. It's like the no-needles concept, which is to avoid the idea that it's OK to inject stuff so you can get through the day. Why shouldn't that apply to prescribed medicine? How is it OK to take a pill and not use a syringe - it all ends up in your bloodstream.

On the Cookson thing, again the issue is not whether the UCI executive has any involvement in TUEs. Of course they don't. The issue is whether there is a general conflict of interest for a team under the control of a governing body to employ a direct family member of the person who runs that body. The risk is that someone makes decisions influenced by what might happen if someone used those connections. Throw in how the McQuaids seemed to use their connections it looks even worse.

I'm not saying that Cookson senior or junior was involved in or aware of any of this, but my personal view is that the son of the president of the UCI should not be working for a UCI professional team.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [529 posts]
16th June 2014 - 12:45

8 Likes

i think it is perfectly right that a TUE can be issued for an athlete with an asthma exacerbation. If not you might have a few dead athletes on your hands.

However, if he was bad enough to require steroid tablets I really can't see how he could have been in any physical condition to race.

(Disclaimer, I one went on a mountaineering weekend four days after starting a prednisolone course so am perhaps not the best at following my own advice. On the other hand, I seem to recall spending the first day on the tablets in bed!)

posted by Chris James [186 posts]
16th June 2014 - 13:20

12 Likes

Note that the corticosteroid is prednisolone, which is NOT an anabolic steroid (one which rebuilds muscle) and is therefore not , strictly speaking, performance enhancing - except insofar as it deals with the symptoms of an asthmatic chest.

posted by ChairRDRF [126 posts]
16th June 2014 - 13:52

19 Likes

ChairRDRF wrote:
Note that the corticosteroid is prednisolone, which is NOT an anabolic steroid (one which rebuilds muscle) and is therefore not , strictly speaking, performance enhancing - except insofar as it deals with the symptoms of an asthmatic chest.

I'm sure I'd perform better with 40mg of that stuff in my system!

posted by daddyELVIS [404 posts]
16th June 2014 - 16:03

7 Likes

Who cared anything about looks or what it looks like?
We can start with tosspots on a bicycle in the first place. Not to mention Froomie's horrendous gate on a bike.

Morons everyone.

posted by dogcc [113 posts]
16th June 2014 - 16:30

6 Likes

Brian Cooksons son being employed by Team Sky is slightly ridiculous. So he had his job at Team Sky because we assume he was brought up in a cycling mad family and followed his desire to work in the sport?
When Cookson senior became President what was the lad going to do? Resigning from his post at Sky, which was we assume given on merit,Not a serious option surely.

posted by TDF Reject [2 posts]
16th June 2014 - 16:41

13 Likes

daddyELVIS wrote:
ChairRDRF wrote:
Note that the corticosteroid is prednisolone, which is NOT an anabolic steroid (one which rebuilds muscle) and is therefore not , strictly speaking, performance enhancing - except insofar as it deals with the symptoms of an asthmatic chest.

I'm sure I'd perform better with 40mg of that stuff in my system!

An anti-inflammatory which suppresses your immune system ?

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [409 posts]
16th June 2014 - 17:13

5 Likes

fukawitribe wrote:
daddyELVIS wrote:
ChairRDRF wrote:
Note that the corticosteroid is prednisolone, which is NOT an anabolic steroid (one which rebuilds muscle) and is therefore not , strictly speaking, performance enhancing - except insofar as it deals with the symptoms of an asthmatic chest.

I'm sure I'd perform better with 40mg of that stuff in my system!

An anti-inflammatory which suppresses your immune system ?

Yes, it'll likely give you a feeling of being strong and energetic (euphoria, if you like), and lessen the pain in the thighs at high levels of exertion. Major League and NFL players are full of this stuff before they go out to play.

posted by daddyELVIS [404 posts]
16th June 2014 - 18:13

15 Likes

Mr Froome seems to have a great many illnesses for a pro athlete, which seem to require the use of otherwise banned drugs during major races. It may be technically within the rules but that is not the same as being clean.

posted by drfabulous0 [336 posts]
16th June 2014 - 19:18

8 Likes

Issue with Froomie is he's always on about dope testing other riders. Such as his recent spate of comments on out of competition testing.

Team Sky appear to have psychological issues. The way Mikel Nieve won the ultimate stage [CdD], he rolls across the line and couldn't care less.
There is more if people are interested in opening another can of worms.

daddyELVIS wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:
daddyELVIS wrote:
ChairRDRF wrote:
Note that the corticosteroid is prednisolone, which is NOT an anabolic steroid (one which rebuilds muscle) and is therefore not , strictly speaking, performance enhancing - except insofar as it deals with the symptoms of an asthmatic chest.

I'm sure I'd perform better with 40mg of that stuff in my system!

An anti-inflammatory which suppresses your immune system ?

Yes, it'll likely give you a feeling of being strong and energetic (euphoria, if you like), and lessen the pain in the thighs at high levels of exertion. Major League and NFL players are full of this stuff before they go out to play.

Prednisolone is commonly given to those with severe cases of asthma. Steroid is the next level up for acute cases. These drugs will do more harm than good when engaged in sport. It's concievable though that extremely minute amounts of the drug are taken to derive some benefits, however marginal the benefits may be. NB. The benefits of these drungs are also very much short term.

Steroids don't induce euphoria. OMG LOL.
Thighs aren't the limiting physiological factors in this sport. More like Cardio-Vascular system OMG LOL.

posted by dogcc [113 posts]
16th June 2014 - 20:02

7 Likes

farrell wrote:
giobox wrote:

Insinuating that Brian Cookson’s son’s employment with Team Sky could have something to do with the decision to grant the TUE is an unfounded allegation which will be dealt with seriously.

The Cookson/Cookson situation is a tough one. In a perfect world if he merits the job, Oli should be free to work for whomever regardless of who his father is. However, are we really to believe this will never give rise to a conflict of interest, even indirectly?

Given that the UCI President, regardless of who they are, have no involvement in the issuing of TUEs I can't see how Senor Cookson senior would have influence.

Look at it the other way, could you imagine the UCI suddenly decide they were going to start blocking riders from competing simply because they don't want or can't be bothered to use a procedure that is available to them and perfectly legal?

I never mentioned the TUE, although the UCI press I quoted does. My point relates to the relationship in general.

posted by giobox [284 posts]
16th June 2014 - 20:07

7 Likes

dogcc wrote:

Steroids don't induce euphoria. OMG LOL.
Thighs aren't the limiting physiological factors in this sport. More like Cardio-Vascular system OMG LOL.

Well you know debate has broken down when the response is 'OMG LOL' - (BTW, who said that thighs are the limiting physiological factors in this sport?). So, I'll leave it there for now - let's see if Sky can keep their heads down at least until the Sheffield Uni paper is released (we might all be having a LOL at that one!).

posted by daddyELVIS [404 posts]
17th June 2014 - 8:06

5 Likes

Despite all the 'expert' opinion above, WADA have now stated that all was okay; I think I'll go with that and hope that they are not in on the Team Sky/UCI/Illuminati/alien lizard conspiracy also.

posted by pwake [293 posts]
17th June 2014 - 13:23

6 Likes

I wish the French would not refer to Froome as being English. He may be British as far as Kenyan born ex-pats living in a tax exile can be but he has no claim to be English.

posted by Trackal [11 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:30

3 Likes

Trackal wrote:
I wish the French would not refer to Froome as being English. He may be British as far as Kenyan born ex-pats living in a tax exile can be but he has no claim to be English.

So shall we say Wiggins is Belgian and Dan Martin is English then?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1096 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:45

3 Likes

And the Welsh can reclain Geraint Thomas... Bring it on... Typical english reaction. Silly

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [151 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:49

4 Likes

Hahahaha...

posted by dogcc [113 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:53

2 Likes

Geriant Thomas is Welsh and rightly proud of it. Who would Froome ride for in the Commonwealth Games?

posted by Trackal [11 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:56

2 Likes

Trackal wrote:
Geriant Thomas is Welsh and rightly proud of it. Who would Froome ride for in the Commonwealth Games?

Quote:
Geraint Howell Thomas, MBE (born 25 May 1986) is a British professional racing cyclist who rides for the UCI ProTeam Team Sky[2] and Great Britain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraint_Thomas
Let's tell the rest of the world then... Cool
[edit] And let's see him raise y ddraig goch at the appropriate moment.

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [151 posts]
17th June 2014 - 23:21

3 Likes

On discovering that the flags of non-participating nations would not be allowed at the Games, Thomas said: "It would be great to do a lap of honour draped in the Welsh flag if I win a gold medal, and I'm very disappointed if this rule means that would not be possible."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraint_Thomas

posted by Trackal [11 posts]
17th June 2014 - 23:37

5 Likes

On discovering that the flags of non-participating nations would not be allowed at the Games, Thomas said: "It would be great to do a lap of honour draped in the Welsh flag if I win a gold medal, and I'm very disappointed if this rule means that would not be possible."

wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraint_Thomas

posted by Trackal [11 posts]
17th June 2014 - 23:38

2 Likes

Trackal wrote:
On discovering that the flags of non-participating nations would not be allowed at the Games, Thomas said: "It would be great to do a lap of honour draped in the Welsh flag if I win a gold medal, and I'm very disappointed if this rule means that would not be possible."

wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraint_Thomas


Which reminds me of a couple of Grauniad articles where David Coulthard, the British driver, won Grand Prix no se que, but Scot, David Coulthard, F1 driver crashes out on lap.....
It's shocking, as I think you agree by higlighting that comment.
Out of interest, when were the Welsh asked if they wanted to be part of the commonwealth?

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [151 posts]
17th June 2014 - 23:52

2 Likes

So it is clear that Geriant would ride for Wales,in the commonwealth games but who would Chris Froome ride for?

posted by Trackal [11 posts]
17th June 2014 - 23:57

1 Like

daddyELVIS wrote:
[

I'm sure I'd perform better with 40mg of that stuff in my system!


[[[[[ Okay, but what would you be like on your bike?
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [282 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 0:42

3 Likes