It’s been a difficult couple of months for Sky and in particular Sir Dave Brailsford as they he and his team have seemingly been unable to answer what was inside a jiffy bag that was sent to Sir Bradley Wiggins when he was riding the Criterium du Dauphine for Sky in 2011.
It was a story that broke last year in the aftermath of Wiggins historic Rio Olympics as Russian hackers, 'Fancy Bears' leaked confidential medical data of a whole host of top level athletes, including Wiggins's. And since then the story has rumbled on; and with no signs of the scrutiny subsiding, there will be more questions in the next couple of months for both Sky and Wiggins.
But Sky’s leading man, Froome who last year won his third Tour title has come out again and spoke about the TUE furore, saying that it is ‘healthy’ to talk about such things, and also saying he rejected a TUE in the last week of the 2015 Tour as it ‘didn’t sit well’ with him.
Like Wiggins, Froome is never far away from the headlines; people have questioned his results in the past and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. But coming out and speaking about the issue will only help cycling if the sport wants to move away from the negative headlines.
Froome does feel there is a ‘problem’ with the TUE system
This story will continue to rumble on, and with Sky unable to provide a concrete explanation of what went on with Wiggins in 2011 there will be more questions than answers for Britain’s dominant road team.
Froome himself is no stranger to a TUE; he’s had two in his career. One in 2013 before the Dauphine, and then one in 2014 before the Tour de Romandie, both were for prednisolone. But the three-time Tour winner said: "The fact that we're having that debate about authenticity means there's a problem with the system.”
WADA has said that they feel nothing is wrong with the application process for a TUE, but Froome feels the World anti-doping agency need to tighten up on the process, saying: "I think WADA need to tighten their regulations around TUEs, so they're not something that we question, their legitimacy."
Cycling is one of the few sports where results and performances are scrutinised and questioned on a regular basis, such is the history of the sport: "The fact that we're discussing the validity of results, that brings it back to the authorities, it is something they need to tighten up on so that there aren't questions being asked anymore," said Froome.