Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford has defended Bradley Wiggins' use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions after well over a week of silence on the issue.
Russian hackers' group 'Fancy Bears' published online the certificates for the TUEs that allowed Wiggins to consume triamcinolone, a corticosteroid, in order to treat respiratory problems he suffers from due to asthma and a pollen allergy.
The nature of Wiggins' use of the drug caused eyebrows to be raised as he did so just days before three Grand Tours and by form of injection. Wiggins had written in a 2012 book that he had never had an injection.
The cyclist appeared on the 'Andrew Marr Show' on Sunday, a British current affairs and political programme, to protest his innocence - a choice of interviewer that certainly caused bemusement and accusations of Wiggins dodging the hard questions surrounding his use of TUEs.
Since 'Fancy Bears' released the documents there has been a stony silence from Team Sky and Brailsford. But now, in an interview with Dan Roan of the BBC, Brailsford has said the drug "was not being used to enhance performance" and that Wiggins "has struggled with allergies for as long as I have known him."
Brailsford said that Wiggins had been given "a recommendation to see a specialist" for which he was "given permission by the authorities". He also stated his belief "in the integrity of that process".
And in another piece in the 'Telegraph' Brailsford has continued his defence of both Team Sky and Wiggins, who he helped become the first British cyclist ever to win a Tour de France.
If it’s a suspicious pattern of TUEs, I’d go back to the TUE authority. Why did you grant it?
You have to have trust and integrity in your people. If you are suggesting I should have suspicion or go back and look at the intent of what’s going on, I have to have trust and integrity in the process and in the UCI who grant it.
Brailsford insisted that Wiggins took the drug out of a "medical need", that Sky "put the health of our riders as one of our key impact areas", that "having the right health around the riders is important to us."
He said that he made "a legitimate decision" and did "the right thing", which he would not "go back and change". He said that his goal when he came into cycling was to "try and do something which everybody said wasn't possible to do" and that Sky, in his opinion, had "done that and will continue to do that".
Since the publication of the TUEs, there have been prominent cycling figures such as Pat McQuaid and David Millar speaking out about the use of TUEs in cycling order to enhance performance. Brailsford used Millar - a past doper - as an example when passionately outlining his mission for Team Sky.
One of the reasons I do this is because I don’t want to see the likes of David Millar do what he did.
I want to see young British athletes go to a team where they are never going to get asked to dope, they are never going to get pressurised to dope. They are never going to have somebody say, ‘Go and have a word with Dave B’ and I go, ‘Right son, the time has come to get you on the program’. That is never going to happen.
Along the road there are some challenges but I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I can always look at myself in the mirror because I’ve never had a discussion with anyone about doping and I never will. And I’m going to keep on fighting to make sure people believe that.