TUEs distracting from issue of doping, says Olympic champion Callum Skinner
Olympic gold medallist Callum Skinner says the controversy over therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) is a distraction in the fight against doping in sport.
The 24-year-old cyclist was one of the athletes whose use of TUEs was leaked by hackers 'Fancy Bears'.
TUEs allow the use of otherwise banned substances if athletes have a genuine medical need.
"TUEs have started to gain a bit of a bad name for something that is really about athlete welfare," said Skinner.
"We're generally getting a bit distracted by TUEs. We have far bigger challenges in terms of anti-doping with out-of-competition testing."
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome said he rejected a TUE to treat a medical condition during his 2015 Tour win on moral grounds.
"Chris is a really experienced athlete," Skinner told BBC Radio 5 live. "He obviously knows his body really well so I wouldn't be surprised if he and others have inadvertently turned down TUEs - not because of the stigma attached to them, but because it's just not a method that works for them."
Sir Bradley Wiggins - Britain's most decorated Olympian - was also revealed to have had TUEs for a banned steroid before major races.
Wiggins' TUEs were approved by British authorities and cycling's world governing body the UCI, and there is no suggestion either he or Team Sky have broken any rules.
Skinner was granted a TUE for the banned substance prednisolone in 2014 and for salbutamol in January 2016. He said the UCI, cycling's governing body, closely examined his condition and medical requirements.
Skinner, who has suffered from asthma since childhood, has since released his medical history in the interests of being "open and honest" and there is no suggestion he has been involved in any wrongdoing.