Geraint Thomas has suggested that it is not enough for riders to operate technically within the rules of cycling. As he prepares to lead Team Sky at this year’s Giro d’Italia, the Welshman expressed his belief that there is a moral angle to the use of medication too.
Earlier this year, Thomas told road.cc that he’s never had a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) himself and said that the authorities “should do more to take out the grey area.”
Asked by BBC Wales whether it was enough to remain technically within the rules of the sport or whether there were moral considerations too, he replied: "Certainly morals and things come into it. As long as I do everything the right way and I only have something off the doc if I actually need it or if I'm actually injured or whatever, then yeah.”
Referring specifically to Sir Bradley Wiggins’ use of TUEs to treat asthma and allergies, as revealed by the Fancy Bears hackers, Thomas said that it was “hard to say.”
“Who's to say he didn't need that or he did? He's the only one who can answer that. I don't think I can really discuss it without speculating, which is the wrong thing to do.
"At the end of the day, everything they did went through the right channels and they got it. If the reason he had it was just to get an advantage or if he did need it, it's only him and the doctor who can answer that.
"I'd like to believe he needed it, because I've known him a long time and I know the way he is. I don't think he'd go out of his way to cheat as such.”
Thomas also believes that Team Sky may be suffering from having arrived in the sport seemingly claiming a certain moral superiority over rivals.
"I think the team, certainly when we came on the scene, we were quite loud about being clean and doing this and that. That probably upset a few people.
"We thought we were better than them and people who were in the sport already – we made a lot of enemies there and that doesn't help. People want to bring you down and any little mistake is picked up on.
"If you looked at other teams, I’m sure similar things are happening but that's what we've set ourselves up for – to be scrutinised like that. At the end of the day, I think it is good."
Thomas went on to bemoan the perception of cycling as “a dark and dirty sport” and expressed his belief that it is “certainly one of the cleanest” due to the extent of testing and “all the investigations” – both those conducted by anti-doping bodies and also those carried out by journalists.
However, regarding the work of the press, he added, with an eye roll, that it would be better, “if they were a bit more clever about it and started in the right places.”