David Millar says that triamcinolone, a drug that was used by Sir Bradley Wiggins under a therapeutic use exemption (TUE), should be banned during races. The ex-pro, who has been a high profile anti-doping campaigner since being banned from the sport in 2004, also believes there should be full public disclosure of all TUEs.
Wiggins’ use of triamcinolone was revealed when the Fancy Bears hackers published medical data stored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) on their site last week.
The rider received several intramuscular injections of the substance as a treatment for asthma shortly before the Tour de France in 2011 and 2012 and before the Giro d’Italia in 2013. Following the publication of the details, he felt it necessary to issue a clarification relating to comments he had made in his autobiography regarding the use of needles.
Millar also used Kenacort – a trade name for triamcinolone – during his career. He told The Telegraph that he didn’t understand how a doctor could prescribe the drug to a rider about to compete in a race.
“As I said in my book, I took EPO and testosterone patches, and they obviously produce huge differences in your blood and you felt at your top level … Kenacort, though, was the only one you took and three days later you looked different.”
Millar also said Kenacort was a factor in his taking sleeping pills because it put him “on this weird high.”
Speaking about the effects, he described the drug as ‘scary’.
“You would do all the training but my weight would stick. But if I took Kenacort, 1.5-2kgs would drop off in like a week. And not only would the weight drop off I would feel stronger.
“If you are non-asthmatic and you take Ventolin it’s not going to give you any advantage. But if you take Kenacort it’s not only going to make a sick person better, it’s going to make a sick person better than a healthy person. That’s a very grey area.”
Millar suggests that there are other forms of cortisone which could be used to treat allergies instead of triamcinolone. “We [athletes] shouldn’t have to face this. If it’s that strong we shouldn’t be allowed to take it unless there is a serious issue. And if we’re suffering from that serious an issue, we shouldn’t be racing. I don’t know how a doctor could prescribe it [before a race]. I can’t fathom it.”