Sir Bradley Wiggins says that even he has found some of the revelations about the Team Sky Jiffy bag scandal ‘scary’ and ‘sinister’. “There’s a few people bricking it,” he claimed about the possibility that further details might emerge, adding that he believes it’s in “certain people’s interests for it not to come out”.
Speaking to ITV4 during Saturday’s stage of the Tour de France, Wiggins was unusually open on the controversies that have swirled around him ever since his medical records were hacked by the Fancy Bears.
Asked whether Team Sky could have handled it all better, he said: “Probably, yeah, in terms of record-keeping etc etc. But there’s things that have come to light with this whole thing; that we’ve found out since, that is quite scary actually. It’s very sinister. And we’re still not at the bottom of it. We’re finding stuff out daily, and it’s to do with the package that never was, and all this stuff, and it’s quite frightening actually.”
Asked whether he would one day like for the full story to come out, replied: “Oh, God yeah. It’s… once it’s all stacked up and pieced together, it’s quite shocking actually.
“There’s a few people bricking it at the moment, I know that for sure. So we’ll see. We’ll see. I hope it comes out of its own accord really. But it’s in a lot… certain people’s interests for it not to come out, and get buried. I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s all gone very quiet at the moment.”
Wiggins did however sympathise with Chris Froome regarding his salbutamol case, expressing his belief that riders should be allowed treatment for certain medical conditions while continuing to race.
“Did he need those extra puffs, all this? He did. He’s allowed to. And he seems to have proved that it was either naturally occurring or whatever – depending which article you read.
“It’s become a bit of a mess, really. And also a bit facetious in places, people suggesting, ‘how can you be an elite athlete and be asthmatic?’ and all this. It’s a genuine thing, exercise-induced asthma. Riding up mountains, heart rate 190bpm, pollen and all sorts – it’s making a bit of a mockery of people’s problems.”
He added: “Obviously, the pitchfork brigade will be waving their forks at me again. I ain’t got the answers, but riders want to race, riders are under a lot of pressure and riders do a lot of training, and the amount of work they put in – and you’ve seen how hard it is – some of the things people suggest are absolutely ludicrous.”
Wiggins also addressed his own use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to take the controversial drug triamcinolone. He said that while with hindsight he might have done things differently, it was only logical to accept the views of the medical professionals at the time.
“We’re going back eight years or seven years. At that time you were in a team, you trust that team, you trust that team’s ethics and what they’re doing. The only question I ever had was: ‘Is it legal, am I going to test positive?’ ‘No you’re not, you’ve got a form here’. So it’s like, ‘Right. Gimme it.’ When you’re suffering, and there’s an answer to your suffering…”
He added: “It might be a bit different today. And teams perhaps have changed their whole protocol now. They wouldn’t go through that process.”
He continued: “To put it into context of what other sports and athletes that have approached me since, and the team doctors of other Olympic sports that have approached me have said: ‘This is ludicrous. Our athletes took it at the Olympic games, outside the window.’”
Asked whether there was an ethical line, he replied: “I’m talking now with hindsight about what’s happened. It’s a difficult question to answer. How do you answer that? Whatever you do, whatever you say now, you’re going to get absolutely hammered for. Is there an ethical line? Of course there’s an ethical line. Is it legal? Isn’t it legal? At the end of the day you’re not taking this stuff just willy nilly, you know?
“You complain of a problem; a serious problem. Is there an answer to it? ‘I don’t know if there’s an answer to it,’ the doctor says. ‘We’ll have to go and see a specialist.’
“These riders see specialists all the time, for knee problems, breathing problems, etc etc. That specialist says: ‘You can do this, but you’ll have to apply.’ There is a process that you can go through in order that you can take that medication, under the rules of the governing bodies and the people that put the rules out.
“So you go through that process, you’ve got to make sure all the paperwork’s in place before you take the product, and then you get hammered for it further down the line. So like I said, I’d be more worried about the people that weren’t going through the process and are doing it outside the window, and it’s gone undetected, and no-one’s ever known about it.”