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Bradley Wiggins vows to fight new doping charges

Bradley Wiggins in the Paris-Nice 2015 race. AFP/Lionel Bonaventure

British cyclist Bradley Wiggins vowed on Monday to fight accusations of a UK parliamentary committee that he and his team manipulated rules on therapeutic drugs ahead of major races, including the Tour de France.

A report published Monday by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee of the House of Commons in the UK accused Wiggins and other members of Team Sky of using a drug not for its medical purposes but for its performance-enhancing effects.

The report says they took triamcinolone, which is allowed as an asthma treatment, in order to lose weight without sacrificing strength.

“We believe this powerful corticosteroid was being used to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France,” the committee wrote in its report.

“The purpose of this was not to treat medical need, but to improve his power-to-weight ratio ahead of the race.”

UK anti-doping officials dropped a previous investigation, opened in September 2016, when they failed to gather evidence for reports that Wiggins received the drug during a 2011 race in France.

The DCMS report cites new evidence from an anonymous source and from Wiggins’s former coach, Shane Sutton.

“What Brad was doing was unethical but not against the rules,” Sutton told the committee.

Wiggins denied the charge and promised to respond.

“I find it so sad that accusations can be made, where people can be accused of this they have never done which are then regarded as facts,” the five-time Olympic gold medallist said in a statement.

“I strongly refute the claim that any drug was used without medical need. I hope to have my say in the next few days.”

Team Sky backed his comments, saying they were “surprised and disappointed” in the way the committee based its charges on an anonymous claim.