The Bradley Wiggins debate rolls on in the countdown to BRIC’s
The froth surrounding the participation of Sir Bradley Wiggins in the British Indoor Rowing Championships shows no sign of abating.
Former Great Britain and Team Sky coach Shane Sutton was asked in a BBC documentary broadcast on Sunday to justify the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) that Wiggins received in order to take a corticosteroid before his three biggest races in 2011, 2012 and 2013, including his 2012 Tour de France win.
Sutton, now head of China’s track cycling programme, said if you have a rider with a “little five percent injury or niggle that’s troubling them if you can get that TUE to get them to 100 percent, then, of course, you would in those days”.
After much public criticism on the potential abuse of the TUEs system, British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington said: “When people are using language around TUEs they need to be very mindful of the effect that could have on the public’s perception and the athletes’ reputation.” This came after Olympic team pursuit champion Katie Archibald said Sutton’s comments were outrageous and “completely against the ethics of the sport”. Paralympic cycling gold medallist Jody Cundy said it was “disappointing to hear the TUEs system was abused in the way it has been”. When asked if this changed his view of Wiggins, Cundy said: “Yes, it muddies the water.”
Meanwhile, over at British Rowing, chief executive Andy Parkinson told The Telegraph newspaper yesterday that Sir Bradley Wiggins’s involvement in the British Indoor Rowing Championships is “a nice story” which will help to drive interest in the sport, and that he has no qualms about Wiggins taking part.
Parkinson, who was chief executive of Ukad before joining British Rowing, said that with Wiggins not having broken any rules, it was not his place to question his participation. “I’m more than happy for anyone to row as long as they’re eligible to do so,” Parkinson said. “It’s not for me to cast aspersions on anyone. It would be a slippery slope if we started to exclude athletes who haven’t actually been found guilty of breaking any rules.”
“From a PR point of view, it’s a nice story,” Parkinson said. “It will be interesting to see whether he can pull it off. Speaking to sports scientists, I think it is definitely easier the other way around, going from rowing to cycling”.
“We have seen the Kiwi rider Hamish Bond do it recently, and Rebecca Romero a few years ago. There is the technical side once you get on the water. But no, I’ve no issues with anyone rowing who is eligible to do so”.
“It [the event] should be great. The athletes get walk-on music now and it’s a big show. It’s a very different demographic than it is on water – a lot of cross-fit athletes. But from a PR perspective, Bradley’s involvement should be good at raising interest.”