Chris Froome, Tour de France winner, in context to a therapeutic use exemption system, has recently said that athletes must “take responsibility” and not “push the boundaries of the rules”. These comments come in the backdrop of the recent criticism of the therapeutic use exemption system.
Many top athletes have come under the scanner after hacked medical records revealed that they used banned substances for their medical conditions under TUE rules.
This recent comment from Froome is seen as a criticism of Sir Bradley Wiggins who, according to the leaked medical records, consumed powerful anti-allergy steroids before three major races. It must be noted that Wiggins had been granted theraputic use exemptions (TUEs) for the injections and was, therefore, acting in compliance with regulations.
British cyclist Froome said the current system is “open to abuse” and must be addressed “urgently” by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This Team Sky rider further added, “I have never had a ‘win at all costs’ approach in this regard. I am not looking to push the boundaries of the rules. I believe that this is something that athletes need to take responsibility for themselves until more stringent protocols can be put in place.”
Also with Wiggins Froome’s medical data too was released recently by the hackers Fancy Bears.
Froome said in a statement released on his personal Twitter account that he was not prepared to “win at all costs”, adding “there are some athletes who not only abide by the rules that are in place but also those of fair play”.
Froome had two TUEs himself for prednisolone in his career (May 2016 and April 2014) and both were taken orally. The second exposure to the drug was seen as a bit controversial because he went on to win the Tour of Romandie after taking it.
Wada, on the other hand, does not seem to be inclined to a proposal put forth by Team Sky’s principal Sir Dave Brailsford to make the TUEs more “transparent”. In context to this WADA in a statement has said, “It is a fundamental human right that personal medical information be kept confidential. Nobody would want such information disclosed, let alone for it to be debated publicly. Athletes should not be required to publish their TUE information, which may de facto disclose their disease or condition, nor should they be required to publicly defend their legitimate use of a TUE.The TUE programme, as it stands, is a rigorous and necessary part of the elite sport; which has overwhelming acceptance from athletes, physicians and all anti-doping stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, Team Sky’s boss on the recent leaks has said that the team did not “cross the line” over performance-enhancing drugs and that he had complete trust in their doctors.