Former Team GB cyclist and renowned drugs cheat David Millar has come clean about how he abused the system and what it felt like to take the banned substance that Bradley Wiggins took legally.
Millar, who is now a campaigner for anti-doping in sport, revealed that taking the banned steroid Triamcinolone made him feel 'like a machine'.
This being the same substance that eight time Olympic medalist and former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins was allowed to take under a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) on three occasions, including before the 2012 Tour de France.
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The five-time Olympic Champion had no real medical reason to take the drug and now he, and Team Sky boss David Brailsford, are under immense pressure to explain their actions.
Wiggins claims he needed the injections to control allergies and asthma, something that both Chris Froome and Sir Chris Hoy have expressed doubts about.
Millar, who admits taking the drug twice, albeit under the name of Kenacort, said he used it solely for performance enhancing reasons.
He wrote in the New York Times: “On one occasion, I received a TUE for a fake tendon issue.
“Kenacort was a once-a-year drug — the stress it put on your body required time to recover...You’d be mad to take it more often or in bigger doses. Although, sadly, there were enough madmen around at the time in pro cycling who surely did just that.
“The three times I took Kenacort were also the times I was the lightest I’d been in my career. Yet I didn’t lose power — often the penalty when a rider sheds weight.
“Physically, I looked like a machine, muscle fibres were visible and a road map of veins crisscrossed my entire body. I was taking this powerful, potentially dangerous drug as a performance enhancer.
“Yet I was doing so within the rules thanks to the TUE loophole...My doping, for that is what it was, could not be judged illegal as long as I fulfilled all the criteria demanded by the authorities.
“I was within the letter of the law, even though I was cheating it. I was in the grey zone.“
Millar was banned in 2004 for two years for taking EPO and believes the TUE system is failing cycling and allowing numerous cases of doping to go undetected.
He added: “The World Anti- Doping Agency and the international governing body of cycling, the UCI, have failed in their oversight of the list of drugs available with a TUE and in their administration of the application process.
“My story illustrates only too well that none of us can be trusted always to do what is right. When the stakes are high, some will see it as sheer folly not to use every advantage available."
The UK Anti-Doping Agency is clamouring to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to ban Triamcinolone as well as painkiller Tramadol, but they haven't acted as yet.
Prentice Steffen, one of Wiggins' former team doctors, further stressed that the painkiller needs to be banned as it may be slowing reaction times and causing more crashes.
“There was no data but that was the speculation as it must slow reaction times," Steffen noted.
He continued to say: “There are three criteria for Wada to ban a drug: is it against the spirit of sport, does it enhance performance and are there health implications?
“I would say it is yes, probably and yes for Tramadol. So I’m mystified as to why Wada is still looking at it.”
Both Team Sky and British Cycling deny giving their riders the painkiller to enhance performance levels.
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