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Lotto-Soudal's Tim Wellens, reportedly suffering heat allergy, did not want reputation questioned by taking otherwise banned drug...

Lotto-Soudal cyclist Tim Wellens yesterday abandoned the Tour de France after declining to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption on the grounds that he does not want his reputation to be questioned.

The 26-year-old has reportedly been suffering from a heat allergy that has manifested itself through red spots appearing on his skin, and according to Het Nieuwsblad could have continued in the race had he applied for permission to use cortisone to treat the condition.

However, he declined to pursue that route, with team manager Marc Sergeant telling L'Equipe: "It's an ethical choice, somethung that is very important to him."

Wellens struggled on Saturday's stage to Rodez as the temperature hit 30 degrees Celsius. He finished within the time limit but nearly half an hour after stage winner Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb.

However, he was forced to abandon the race early on in yesterday's Stage 15 to Le Puy en Verlay.

The use of TUEs in cycling and beyond has come under increased scrutiny since the Fancy Bears hacking group released details last year of athletes competing at the Rio Olympics who had been granted them.

Among the names released was Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was revealed to have taken a powerful corticosteroid to treat grass and pollen allergies before three key stage races - the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France, and the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

News of the TUEs granted to him, and the subsequent controversy over the contents of the Jiffy Bag delivered to a former Team Sky doctor for Wiggins' use at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine cast a shadow over the closing months of his career and continue to do so now he is retired.

UK ANti-Doping has been investigating British Cycling and Team Sky in respect of the TUEs and the Jiffy Bag to ascertain if there is any evidence of wrongdoing but it has yet to publish its findings.

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.

23 comments

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BigManLittleHair [47 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Good lad. 

Now about that Wiggins 'character'...

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Yorkshire wallet [1426 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Among the names released was Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was revealed to have taken a powerful corticosteroid to treat grass and pollen injuries

Pollen injury. Bradley's past get shadier all the time.

 

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BarryBianchi [309 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Standby for the obvious raft of questions about what other use he's trying to hide, now all the sh1t's stuck to the Bradley blanket....

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Must be Mad [621 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Sounds like a good decision.

I will add a 'but' though -  medication can help surpress symptoms and make life a bit easier - but it not going to clear up a rash overnight. Sounds like it may have been too late for the medication anyway.

 

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derek n clive [259 posts] 3 months ago
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BigManLittleHair wrote:

Good lad. 

Now about that Wiggins 'character'...

 

…and Froome. Oh but he's the darling of the UK cycling newbie fans so he's exempt.

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don simon [1309 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Respect, but it shouldn't have to be. Here's hoping the team supports him fully.

The system is clearly flawed, as is the reporting of and public reaction to.

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BarryBianchi [309 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Among the names released was Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was revealed to have taken a powerful corticosteroid to treat grass and pollen injuries

Pollen injury. Bradley's past get shadier all the time.

 

 

You're full of it.  You've obvioiusly never been hit by a great chunk of pollen at full speed.

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notfastenough [3727 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes

Sounds all great and ethical on the face of it, and kudos to the lad for sticking to his principles.

However, there's nothing to say he won't get this kind of reaction in the same level of heat in the future.  So if after dreaming about it for years, you've finally made it through to the pro ranks, then managed to secure the lottery win of a TdF ride, do you:

A. Stick to your guns forever, potentially ruining your chances as a pro due to the warmer weather climes where many races are.

B. At some point accept that there may be valid medical reasons for a TUE, not least to enable you to continue riding your bike when you aren't, after all, ill or injured?

He may have already ruined his chances of another grand tour ride, due to the risk of him withdrawing where other riders would continue.

 

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atlaz [254 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

He's completed all 3 other grand tours he's raced in. His team know the truth so I can't imagine it to be damaging.

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StoopidUserName [336 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Nice to see the swivel eyed pitchfork loonies winning yet again.

 

meanwhile in Russia....same ol', same ol' 'cept they're pissing themselves laughing at us...

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dottigirl [796 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

The CW article mentions he's had breathing difficulties too - respiratory infection? So, not as simple as just a rash. 

Though not to dismiss rashes too - they can be very painful. A friend recently cycled to Lisbon and had quite a sore, bloody rash under her shorts' legs. 

I get heat rashes, but I usually take antihistamines to keep them under control. It's ruined a few holidays - sunbathing isn't an option any more as the rash pops up on the second day. Never knew cortisone would help - no doctor or pharmacist suggested it when the bottom half of my legs turned port-wine red. (Though by that time, it was probably past help. Took weeks for the skin on my legs to return to normal.)

 

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Awavey [334 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
dottigirl wrote:

I get heat rashes, but I usually take antihistamines to keep them under control. It's ruined a few holidays - sunbathing isn't an option any more as the rash pops up on the second day. Never knew cortisone would help -

It's an anti inflammatory,more likely to be a cortocosteroid, used to treat allergies which almost certainly is part of the respiratory problems, but it's alot stronger stuff than antihistamine,you wouldn't take it unless doctor prescribed it and long term use causes problems. Of course iirc out of competition he won't need the TUE for it.

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STiG911 [276 posts] 3 months ago
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Awavey wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

I get heat rashes, but I usually take antihistamines to keep them under control. It's ruined a few holidays - sunbathing isn't an option any more as the rash pops up on the second day. Never knew cortisone would help -

It's an anti inflammatory,more likely to be a cortocosteroid, used to treat allergies which almost certainly is part of the respiratory problems, but it's alot stronger stuff than antihistamine,you wouldn't take it unless doctor prescribed it and long term use causes problems. Of course iirc out of competition he won't need the TUE for it.

Is it likely that by the time treatment was needed it had to be Cortisone because Antihistamines wouldn't make a dent?

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Jackson [373 posts] 3 months ago
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If it had happened to Sky, Brailsford and Dr Freeman would have been rubbing their hands together and wheeling out a hot sauce concoction that'd take your head off. Bear this in mind next time someone tries the tired old "they're all at it" argument. Nice to see George Bennett calling out Wiggins' TUEs as "bullshit" in the NZ Herald the other day too.

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1961BikiE [386 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Good on him but very sad that he feels he has to abandon when there is a medication that he could use to ease the problem but the witch hunt is in full swing even for medically prescribed medication. As someone else said the Russians must be peeing themselves at the can f worms they've opened while they merrily get on with using PEDs with impunity.

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FatBoyW [235 posts] 3 months ago
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Exactly, it is poor form of Wellens and Lotto to not use the correct system to ensure that treatment for a medical condition happens.

 

rules are there to be followed, if you don't use them then are you contravening them? Russians must be loving this!

sponsor has every right to be annoyed too.

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handlebarcam [1043 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I can see Dave Brailsford tapping away on his laptop during the rest day, adding notes to Team Sky's database of potential future recruits. Under Tim Wellens, does it now say "not a team player", I wonder?

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RobD [515 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

This has probably done his team mates quite a big favour as it will give a slightly better impression of the type of riders on that team, willing to miss part of the biggest race of the year because you don't agree with the system.

I hope he gets over it quickly, it must be pretty nasty if it's enough for him to climb off the bike, considering what a lot of the riders will try to race through.

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Harmanhead [52 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

No no I can't carry on!

We'll give you this, just get a TUE. No no I've got morals (and no chance of winning) 

another excuse for sky bashing!

get over it! Just appreciate some great riding from some f-ing great riders regardless of team

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Beachboy [2 posts] 3 months ago
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So which one was it, he states it went against his ethics to take a normally banned substance in case it impacted on his reputation. So if people were not hounding Wiggins and Co in regard to the information released by a bunch of illegal hackers, he would have gladly taken it. What is ethical about that. Seems that this witch hunt has stopped him continuing, when he could have legally taken medical aid and carried on.

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Carton [389 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

It is ethical to feel shame.

It is particularly ethical to attempt to avoid the feeling when you know some of your competitors wouldn't or wouldn't have to.

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MartyMcCann [276 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
notfastenough wrote:

Sounds all great and ethical on the face of it, and kudos to the lad for sticking to his principles.

However, there's nothing to say he won't get this kind of reaction in the same level of heat in the future.  So if after dreaming about it for years, you've finally made it through to the pro ranks, then managed to secure the lottery win of a TdF ride, do you:

A. Stick to your guns forever, potentially ruining your chances as a pro due to the warmer weather climes where many races are.

He may have already ruined his chances of another grand tour ride, due to the risk of him withdrawing where other riders would continue.

 

 

According to some  commentators on Eurosport, Wellens has told his team in the past he didn't actually want to ride the TdF because he was well aware of his reaction to heat, so it might not break his heart not to get to do it again. Plus it means he would be able to concentrate more on the likes of the Tour of Poland or  the  Eneco (or whatever they have changed its name to this year), which are better suited to his riding style any way.

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fuzzywuzzy [85 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I think it's a mistake personally, the problem with TUEs is often they aren't made public not that they exist. If he has a genuine medical condition that short-term cortisone use could have alleviated then why not do it under TUE? Just make it public, sure some idiots may question it but I doubt many would.