Sir Bradley Wiggins denies direct link to doctor Leinders

Sir Bradley Wiggins. Credit: PA

Sir Bradley Wiggins has denied that Belgian doctor Geert Leinders had any involvement in the decision to apply for permission to use a banned steroid to treat allergies before three major races.

Wiggins' use of triamcinolone, the same drug Lance Armstrong tested positive for at the 1999 Tour de France, came to light when Russian hackers stole medical data stored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and published it online on Wednesday.

The five-time Olympic champion has also clarified comments made in his 2012 autobiography that he strictly observed cycling's 'no needles' policy, despite already having injections of triamcinolone before the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour de France, with a third coming shortly before the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

In a statement issued to Press Association Sport, a spokesman for Wiggins said:

How is Brad associated (with) Geert Leinders? Brad has no direct link to Geert Leinders. Leinders was 'on race' doctor for Team Sky for short period and so was occasionally present at races dealing with injuries sustained whilst racing such as colds, bruises etc. Leinders had no part in Brad's TUE application; Brad's medical assessments from 2011-2015 were processed by the official Team Sky doctor, and were verified by independent specialists to follow WADA, UCI and BC guidelines.

A spokesman for Sir Bradley Wiggins

Leinders was hired by Team Sky, Wiggins' team at the time, in 2011 to bring the newly-formed outfit more experience of the professional road cycling scene and he worked for them on a consultancy basis until his name appeared in the United States Anti-Doping Agency's Lance Armstrong investigation in 2012.

That led to the British team immediately ending their relationship with Leinders, who had until that point been a popular member of staff.

Team boss Sir Dave Brailsford's embarrassment at hiring Leinders was compounded three years later when a joint investigation into the Dutch Rabobank team by the American, Danish and Dutch anti-doping agencies resulted in a life ban for the doctor.

One of Rabobank's former riders, Denmark's Michael Rasmussen, has spoken at length about Leinders' use of triamcinolone and the closely related cortisone to aid recovery, boost stamina and shed weight without losing strength.

Rasmussen, who twice won the Tour's King of the Mountains jersey, has explained that Leinders helped him get the false medical certificates he needed to be granted TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions) by the UCI and WADA.