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Drug not offered, says Sky's Froome; CYCLING.

THREE-TIME Tour de France winner Chris Froome has said he was never offered triamcinolone by Team Sky.

The 32-year-old, who is currently negotiating an extension to his contract at Team Sky ahead of his bid for a fourth Tour de France title, has been outspoken about therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs), which allow athletes to take otherwise banned substances to treat medical conditions. It emerged last September that 2012 Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins received three TUEs for triamcinolone - a powerful corticosteroid with a history of abuse in cycling.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford and Wiggins insisted the injections, administered before three of Wiggins' biggest races in 2011, 2012 and 2013, were medically necessary to combat a pollen allergy. Wiggins, who left Team Sky in April 2015, retired last December.

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) also investigated a claim that Wiggins was injected with triamcinolone at the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine race, without a TUE being obtained. Former Team Sky medic Dr Richard Freeman said he gave Wiggins the legal decongestant Fluimucil on that occasion but cannot find any records to prove it because he failed to follow team policy by sharing those records with colleagues. He then lost his laptop on holiday three years later.

Wiggins has always strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Froome, Tour runner-up to Wiggins in 2012, declined medication which would have required a TUE en route to winning the 2015 Tour when he was struggling with illness.

When asked by the Guardian about the corticosteroid he said: "I can only speak about my experiences in the team at the time. I certainly haven't been offered triamcinolone in the team."

Asked if he had ever had any triamcinolone, he replied: "No."

The purchase of triamcinolone was made public after UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead told MPs at a Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing in March that far more of the drug had been obtained than would have been needed for the three injections taken by Wiggins.

Asked about that development, Froome said: "Honestly, I haven't given it much thought.

"I've been so focused on trying to get ready for July and I think the investigation has been happening in the background. I can only speak about my experience in the team. It hasn't been my experience that triamcinolone has been handed around freely as has been suggested."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 24, 2017
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