Bradley Wiggins accused of crossing "ethical line"

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Sir Bradley Wiggins has vehemently denied the allegations, telling BBC News: "I refute that 100 per cent".

Team Sky and Wiggins, the victor of the 2012 Tour de France and a five-time Olympic champion, have strongly denied the report's claims and have said any medication they have used has been for legitimate reasons and within UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

Lappartient told BBC Sport: "If you are using substances to increase your performances, I think this is exactly what is cheating".

Pressure was building on Sir Dave Brailsford to resign from his position as head of Team Sky following the news that they face another major anti-doping investigation. The grey zone was too big, and it seemed that this grey zone has been used by Team Sky at the time so, is it doping? Teams that joined agreed to adhere to voluntary rules around the use of corticosteroids, among other substances.

Also racing for Sky in Italy is Froome, who has to explain to the UCI how he returned double the allowed level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine during his Vuelta a Espana victory in September 2017.

Team Sky said they were concerned that the Committee had presented "unsubstantiated allegations" without providing evidence to support them, which they said was "fundamentally unfair" to them and their riders. "That is why the MP's report just says they were not breaching the rules". We can see in this report that it seems to be a little bit different, ' said Lappartient. "That could be the case but ... we don't want to lose one of the strongest teams in the world, and the strongest in Great Britain", the UCI president said.

Brailsford is likely to come under fresh pressure after Lappartient’s intervention
Brailsford is likely to come under fresh pressure after Lappartient’s interventionBENOIT TESSIER REUTERS

The 60-year-old accused the unnamed person of having an "axe to grind" with Team Sky.

"We welcome any review by the UCI which can help establish the nature of the evidence relied on by the Committee in coming to its conclusions", Team Sky said. Brailsford's lead rider, Chris Froome, is now building a case to defend himself following an adverse sample for the asthma drug Salbutamol returned during his 2017 Vuelta a Espana triumph.

Floyd Landis, the one-time doper turned informant, has called for Bradley Wiggins to be stripped of his 2012 Tour de France title. He is now allowed to race under the rules for "specified substances" such as asthma drugs and is competing in Tirreno-Adriatico. Further, he was asked whether the UCI fears that Team Sky may fold.

For his part, Wiggins - who won the Tour six years ago - has denied any wrongdoing, insisting he is the victim of a smear campaign after the DCMS report had cited the allegedly questionable use of triamcinolone to treat the Briton's asthma condition.

Given the scrutiny surrounding TUEs, Thomas says he would not take them even if he needed them for medical reasons. Because, can you imagine if he's riding the Giro, with spectators crying against him, or if at the end he's disqualified from the Giro?

"If any MPCC rider used a corticosteroid like Kenacort three days before the Tour and went through this blood test, he would not be able to start the race", Vaughters said.

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