Chris Froome: Cycling's Therapeutic Use Exemption System 'Open To Abuse'

Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
Tour de France winner Chris Froome in Castellon, Spain, September 7. Froome has warned that cycling's TUE system is open to abuse. Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty

Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has warned the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) system is "open to abuse."

Froome's comments come in the wake of revelations that Sir Bradley Wiggins, Froome's former teammate at Team Sky, obtained TUEs to use the powerful corticosteroid Triamcinolone before three major races, the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France including the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

There is no suggestion that Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour and is also Britain's most decorated Olympian of all time, contravened anti-doping regulations.

But his timing of using Triamcinolone, taken via intramuscular injection for asthma and pollen allergies, has highlighted the potential gaps in the TUE system, as well as the ethics of using otherwise banned substances to treat illness. On the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Wiggins said the Triamcinolone allowed him to compete "on a level playing field," while his former team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said he "trusted in the integrity" of the TUE process.

"It is clear that the TUE system is open to abuse and I believe this is something that the UCI and WADA (cycling's governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency) needs to urgently address," Froome said in a statement.

"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."

Froome and Wiggins have had a difficult relationship since the 2012 Tour de France, when Froome was Wiggins' top domestique (helper) but often appeared stronger than his team leader, leaving him on the climb to La Toussuire before he was summoned back by the Team Sky car.

After the 2012 season, Froome assumed leadership of Team Sky, with Wiggins departing in the spring of 2015 to set up his own team.