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

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.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

50 comments

Avatar
Paul J [885 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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

Of course, a big effort coming up is exactly when the performance enhancing effects of salbutamol are most wanted!

http://thorax.bmj.com/content/56/9/675.full

Yes, it's legal under the current rules. Yes, it's ridiculous that athletes are allowed to.

Avatar
daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

It's Sky so there must be an innocent explanation. Brits don't cheat.

Avatar
AWPeleton [3329 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

oh dear, what a shame, never mind. Another non story and brought about by the sad french who seem to despise anything associated with Sky and Britain.

Avatar
Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Hold the front page!
French Newspaper in 'Spitting Dummy Over Something Sky Have Done' Shocker!

Avatar
bikeandy61 [533 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

To be fair to the paper report, which I haven't seen or couldn't read anyway, but the Road.cc report above states at the top that the inhaler was used to treat a chill, while Chris is reported to have said last week that he had had an inhaler for asthma since childhood. Now I suffer mildly from asthma and use Ventolin at times such as now when hayfever is bad or when I have a chest cold.

The problem is when statements seem to be contradictory eg one saying chill one asthma. Of course this could be selective reportage and Sky doc may have said the use was for a chill that was exacerbating an existing asthma condition.

As usual at any remove it is hard to know what is the reality. Sadly though these things smack of all the other cover ups of doping.

Avatar
Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Avatar
daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
bikeandy61 wrote:

To be fair to the paper report, which I haven't seen or couldn't read anyway, but the Road.cc report above states at the top that the inhaler was used to treat a chill, while Chris is reported to have said last week that he had had an inhaler for asthma since childhood. Now I suffer mildly from asthma and use Ventolin at times such as now when hayfever is bad or when I have a chest cold.

The problem is when statements seem to be contradictory eg one saying chill one asthma. Of course this could be selective reportage and Sky doc may have said the use was for a chill that was exacerbating an existing asthma condition.

As usual at any remove it is hard to know what is the reality. Sadly though these things smack of all the other cover ups of doping.

You're mixing up 2 different occurrences - this story is about a fast-tracked TUE issued without the correct procedures being followed, for an oral steroid treatment, so he could ride the Tour of Romandie, which if true means he probably shouldn't been riding his bike that week, never mind actually winning the race.

The other story is the inhaler he was seen puffing on before his kicked ass up a rather large hill in the Dauphine.

Avatar
don simon [763 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Here we go again!  2

Avatar
Rupert [189 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Not against the rules........... Professional sport is exactly what it is ........using every means possible to win.

I would imagine that an inhaler is just part of the "extra help", none of which is against the rules.

Would I be wrong in thinking that they are all using Hypobaric Chambers to sleep in and turbo train in when at a training camp?

I'd be interested if anybody knows what else the Professionals do to "improve" their form, which is not against the rules but might be in the future.

Avatar
brighton2london [7 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Is this a serious comment? Do you have any idea of the similar guff spouted by Lance and his Disco bunnies.

It's an accusation that is worthy of a considered response, from both the UCI and Sky, that reflects the Lance-era historical baggage.

Avatar
daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Rupert wrote:

Not against the rules...........

Not against the rules if the TUE was issued after following correct procedure - the article claims shortcuts were taken to the benefit of Froome and Team Sky, the UCI claims proper procedure was followed - let's see if this story continues.

However, what is clear is that Sky must have claimed Froome was in a very poor state to get clearance for oral steroids. Can Sky claim to be ethical whilst allowing one of their riders to race when he should have been resting and recovering? Unless, of course, he wasn't (that) ill - in which case, why was he on the drugs?

Either way, there's some explaining to do there.

Avatar
Gasman Jim [159 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

1. It's prednisolone not penisolone.

2. WTF is a "chill"? I suspect he had an upper respiratory tract infection which was causing an exacerbation of his asthma and necessitated a course of systemic steroids. Very impressive to go on and win the event in those circumstances.

3. Sounds like it's all within the rules, but it makes me think of a friend who has a lot of back trouble and tried a short course of steroids to try to settle it down before the Etape Caledonia one year. He did his best ever time that year.

Avatar
cisgil23 [55 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I just read the JDD article.
It says "A trois semaines du départ du Tour de France, la connivence entre l'Anglais Chris Froome, leader de l'équipe Sky, et l'Union cycliste internationale (UCI), présidée par son compatriote Brian Cookson, sème le trouble".
Even if one doesn't speak French the phrase re "connivence" is clear enough, and is certainly defamatory towards Froome.
I think he, Sky, and Cookson should begin legal proceedings.
Of course someone used this path to defend himself. His actions have cast a shadow that seems to get forever longer.

Avatar
balmybaldwin [157 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

@bikeandy

It was the prednisolone (oral steroid) that the article stated as treating a "chill" whatever that is. I use the same stuff prescibed for a severe allergy. (and the effect of a small dose (20mg) makes very little difference if im cycling but it does make me a touch quicker)

Avatar
shay cycles [324 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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.

Avatar
Skylark [153 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

//i.imgur.com/5ka76Qj.jpg)

Avatar
J90 [337 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Chris Froome has asthma. Mind blown.

I'd like to think this is nothing, but can you ever really trust professional athletes?

I'm backing Contador for the tour......and not just because it rhymes.

Avatar
giobox [356 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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?

Avatar
ColT [289 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.  3

Avatar
The Mewster [1 post] 2 years ago
0 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.

Avatar
farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
0 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?

Avatar
antonio [1124 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

*waits*

Avatar
farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
0 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.

Avatar
leqin [171 posts] 2 years ago
0 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.  26

Avatar
abudhabiChris [692 posts] 2 years ago
0 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.

Avatar
Chris James [388 posts] 2 years ago
0 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!)

Avatar
northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

And the blinkers are still on it seems... ^^^

Avatar
ChairRDRF [308 posts] 2 years ago
0 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.

Avatar
daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
0 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!

Pages