London (AFP) — Five-time Olympic cycling champion Bradley Wiggins has to clear up the question marks remaining over why he was granted therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for a steroid, his former team-mate Chris Froome says.
Wiggins, 36, had his medical records leaked by presumed Russian hackers The Fancy Bears earlier this year.
They revealed he’d been granted the TUEs to take the banned triamcinolone to treat a pollen allergy including just before the 2012 Tour de France when he went onto become Britain’s first winner.
Froome, who was his faithful lieutenant on Team Sky that year and has won it himself three times since, told The Times that Wiggins’ denials since and responses to the questions have not resolved the matter.
“People ask me, ‘Do I think it’s tarnished his (Wiggins) image?’ I certainly think it’s raised a few questions, that’s for sure,” he told the paper by phone from Australia. “A lot of people have said it’s taken the shine off his performances back in 2012.”
Kenya-born Froome, who will attempt the rare feat of doing a Grand Tour double next year having failed in his bid this season, said he still did not know what was in a package delivered to Team Sky during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, which Wiggins won.
“I am completely in the dark on that,” he says. “I have asked the question. Hopefully we will find out at the end of the investigation.
“Those are questions for Brad to answer about what happened back then. In terms of who did what at the time, I still don’t know all the answers myself.”
Froome, 31, says he couldn’t fault the present Team Sky regime for being totally transparent and felt this had filtered through to spectators at the Tour de France whose attitude had changed between the angry and hostile one of 2015 towards him and his team-mates and this year.
“I can only deal with what I do know. From what I have seen for myself [at Sky], it’s been completely above board. It’s been clean. I’ve laid all my cards on the table. Everything has been out there for a while in terms of my TUEs,” he said.
“We have worked really hard to try to show we are being as transparent as possible. I feel we have made a lot of headway this year, especially on the roads of the Tour.
“I felt a genuine change in mentality of the French fans, a much warmer reception than it has been in the past.”