Wiggins during his record hour cycling endeavor at the Lee Valley Velopark, London. Photo: John Walton/ PA
WF: Ive heard from two different people that at the end of 2010 there was a change in the medical operation at Sky. Did you notice significant differences ?[ There have never been any allegations of improper practise relating to Leinderss spell at Sky in 2011 and 2012. ] BW : Other than one or two new doctors , no. That was something that wasnt noticeable as a rider. It may have changed the route things were done among the medical team. As a rider , no, Id had 10 years of doing it, turning up at motorcycle races, the majority of members of the time a different physician at that race, on-race doctor, but other than that no , nothing different to the year before other than different faces because patently[ Sky carer] Txema[ Gonzalez] had died the year before[ at the Vuelta ].[ The former Sky physician] David Hulse had left but no, Im trying to think of the medical squad at that time, Dr Richard Freeman, Leinders went on board , no, I didnt notice anything different.
WF: Did you know about the decision to hire Dr Leinders?
BW : No.
WF: No one spoke about that to you?
BW : Id had a shit year. My grandad succumbed at the end of the year. Id lost all contact with the team. I got a massive bollocking at the end of the year from Dave, wed moved here, I was doing house run and stuff. Cycling was way off the spectrum at that point for me. I felt like Id got chided all season for under-performing
The first time, I recollect running straight-out from the Dave Rayner[ Fund] dinner that year to the first camp, the get-together which was down Reading way, Marlow, turned up there and had my pre season meeting with the managers: what do you want to do next year? I told I wanted a complete change, want to get do Paris-Roubaix, De Panne , not worry about the Tour, try and do something early season, something in Paris-Nice.
We had all our pre-season ECGs and everything all on site, because I had missed all that the previous year because Id joined so late, Id missed that first get-together because I wasnt released from Garmin until December. We had our ECGs, all that, and that was the first time I ensure Geert Leinders there. I didnt know who he was or where hed come from, other than that some of the riders knew him
WF: Because hed been at Rabobank
BW : So that was that. I didnt truly suppose anything of it other than saying hello to these new faces, I couldnt just waiting get out of there, because at that time I was still coming to words with everything. WF: Do you understand people who say that having these injections was unethical. Not illegal, but unethical . BW : Erm It seemed without all the context of someones history then I could see that on paper perhaps, especially the way some of it has been reported. Its is still very sensationalised in parts and very personal in other parts. Straight off, the style cycling is today, yes, yes. Because it doesnt take much in cycling in this day and age now because of whats gone before. So I understand that.
WF: But this is a substance that [ confessed doper and anti-doping campaigner] David Millar, for example, is . BW : Yes. But as I said before Id like to know in all honesty with David, if thats the lawsuit, what doses were they taking then? Lets have some more specifics please. When did you take it, how much did you take, how did you feel the day after when you took it? Merely to put some context to this dosage for this specific reason. saying should be banned
Because its all right saying things like that because that get people riled, but being implemented in the correct way for specific things it has a place like anything in medicine.
So I would say its all right Jrg Jaksche telling oh well we used to use that.[ German former professional cyclist Jaksche confessed in 2007 to blood doping;
in an interview with the website cyclingtips, he stated that he had use the same procedure]
Well how much did you[ Millar] used to use and when? Did you use it before the time trial in 2003 in the Tour when you won the time trial?[ Millar won the 2003 hour trial from Pornic to Nantes at a time when he was doping ]. Did you use it that day? When did you take it – the night before? Did you take it the morning of? How much did you take? What other times did you use it? How much did you used to take before you used to go out and try to lose two kilos in a week? So more specifics around that to give context to the whole situation. That alone, that doesnt say to you anything. And then what else were you taking at that time in conjunction with that? Was it only cortisone in that period? Was everyone abusing cortisone? Or was it in conjunction with EPO, with testosterone, all those other things?
WF: What about when someone like [ Dutch professional] Tom Dumoulin who, as far as I can meet rides for a squad which is pretty straight up on its ethics, from what Ive heard about Giant-Alpecin they have a very distinct ethical approach, when someone like that tells, it stinks, how do you react to that ? BW : Yeah. Well, I think hes on the ground racing at the moment when he got asked the question. You have to ask how these questions are loaded to these guys. This is a guy whos get many, many years left in the athletic What if he tells , no, Ive got no problem with that, if being implemented in the right context. Well would you use it then? You know how the question is loaded. It has to be put in context.
For someone just to come up and say, do you condone this using of cortisone? a lot of riders in this day and age, especially young riders, are not going to say, well I do actually. Anyone who can take a step back from this and run, well actually Id have to look at the instance, I cant comment at the moment, Id have to look at the whole suit in perspective of why it was used In the same way it was reported the other day about Fabian Cancellara, 120 mg of prednisolone three days before the Vuelta
WF: For a bee sting
BW : But in the context of that, three days before the Vuelta, whats that about? And then its not until Trek-Segafredo release the pictures of him and you think bloody hell his face , no wonder he needed[ it ], so I think it must continue to be put in context of everything. I understand why that question is being asked but I also know what bike riders are like today and there is a fear factor around saying anything other than no, I wouldnt.
WF: How would you have felt if anyone you were riding against in the Tour de France, lets say in 2009, had been documented as doing this?
BW : Well, again youd got to see the whole occurrence. Youd want to know why it had been granted. Thats probably a question for the UCI how many people are on TUEs in those Tours? Perhaps the UCI should say this is well why he was on this TUE, but then there is sensitive medical record here. Some people might have sensitive medical a matter that they dont want people to know about. Unfortunately we are carrying the can for everything that went before here and statements like Dave saying, this stuff should be banned.
WF: Do you think TUEs should be made public?
BW : No I dont , no. Because again WF: I dont mean should they be leaked by the Fancy Bears, what I entail is should it be noted publicly how many TUEs a squad has and when? Perhaps not naming the riders? Or listing them by squad, date, substance, again without naming the riders? For clarity . BW : How many people are on TUEs for a start would add context to whats going on in the peloton at the moment but I suppose just hurling them out there, this is what hes on, this is what hes on, thats ludicrous. I mean theres all sorts, people might have sexually transmitted diseases that they are on TUEs for, thats too sensitive for some people. Thats more of a question for the governing bodies and Wada: how do they manage this TUE system across all athletics , not only cycling? Whats the application process it goes to three independent doctors and they all have to sign this TUE off. WF: But that wasnt the case when you had yours because the TUE panel didnt come in until afterward . BW : I dont know who signed it off or who it went through at that stage.
WF: Im told it was easier to get one before 2014.
BW : Until I get the authorisation back I dont know what process its gone through at that particular hour. I was concentrating on winning “the member states national” road race or getting ready for the Tour, I was out in Majorca training with the family, I wasnt guessing I wonder where that is at the moment or what its doing. That was the medical teams job. WF: Its been pointed out rightly that in the book we wrote together it says specifically that you havent had any injections apart from your vaccinations. How did that come about ? BW : As Ive just said with the cortisone question, with Tom Dumoulin being asked that question The scenery at that time was very much Lance Armstrong, needle forbids, this that and another. In my eyes at that time when I was asked that question it was very much have you ever used needles WF: I have a note which says quite specifically that I was going to ask you if youd had injections other than IVs for recovery in the past, diarrhoea or whatever, to clarify that . BW : I was still guessing it was loaded in the sense of, if people ask have you used needles, I always automatically assume its for intravenous, EPO, those things, testosterone, iron to support EPO use.
In my intellect it was always loaded and associated with doping, whenever I was asked that. It was around that time, the UCI had brought in a needle banning and the latter are for intravenous injections on races. This is four years ago as well, dont forget, Im trying to think of the landscape at the time, Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrongs about to go down, hes about to lose everything.
Id just come off the Tour that year, that press conference. In my mind it was always about defending[ myself from] that doping culture, everything that went with the doping culture or riders carrying washbags around with their own syringes in and injecting themselves.
People never asked around that time have you ever been injected by a doctor or a physician for medical reasons? Thats a quite different question to do you use needles?
Youve got to remember at that time, back when I turned professional, people were still carrying needles around with them in washbags. Early 2000 s was a crazy day for that. Riders were doing it for themselves, injecting vitamins or as weve seen since the Armstrong thing, hanging drips on the walls.[ Riccardo] Ricc virtually killed himself putting it in the fridge himself and storing blood, that to me is: have you ever use needles? That whole taboo around it, the landscape at that time, with Armstrong and having only won the Tour de France, it was always steering towards that I took all the questions as steered towards that. I always felt I was having to defend myself, especially arriving off the back of the Tour de France that year where it was, what are Sky up to?
WF: Do you understand that in terms of the triamcinolone injections, we are dealing with a grey area? Do you get that?
BW : Im trying to get my head around why people see it like that. But I also see it in my eyes as: Ive got medical evidence to support the problem I had and that was the best course of treatment in order to stop these problems. [ First part of interview has come to an end. We move on to the build-up to the 2013 Giro dItalia at Wigginss request ] BW : So into 2013 I was going for the Giro dItalia. Into April it became about how are we going to manage this if I get problems here now? So we went back to see the expert again and he conducted another report based on blood tests Id had at that time and his last paragraph here is [ Wiggins presents interviewer the letter from the expert, which clearly states that the treatment with Kenalog will provide relief from the symptoms for a period of 6-8 weeks ]
BW : The funny thing is
I came out of that Giro, having crashed and had a sore knee and stuff, I came home, I aimed up having another cortisone injection in Leeds in a hospital for the knee that had got inflamed and stuff, so I didnt race for another 5-6 weeks, until the Tour of Poland after that[ Wiggins pulled out of the Giro on May 17; the Tour of Poland 2013 ran from 27 July until 3 August when Wiggins won the time trial stage in Krakow]
<source media="(min-width:" 660px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 1.25), (min-width: 660px) and (min-resolution: 120dpi)" sizes="620px" srcset="https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/5f312e269f19632