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Tour de France rider abandons race after rejecting Therapeutic Use Exemption that would have let him continue

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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