Sir Bradley Wiggins speaks to BBC Sport following DCMS report - full transcript

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We did not cross the ethical line - Wiggins

Following a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) report that said Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky "crossed an ethical line" by using drugs that are allowed under anti-doping rules to enhance performance instead of just for medical purposes, Wiggins talks exclusively to BBC Sport's Dan Roan.

Here is the full transcript of his interview:

Sir Brad, thanks for your time, the reports by the DCMS says you crossed the ethical line, is that fair? Did you?

"No. We didn't, not at any point in my career did we cross the ethical line. As I have said before, I had a medical condition that I went to a doctor - this has been being treated since 2003 when I was diagnosed with it through the doctors at British Cycling at that time.

"This was the treatment I was prescribed for that particular occasion which was seven years ago now, under specialist supervision as well, and in place with the rules at that time, which was you were allowed to apply for the use of this medication."

But it was performance-enhancing?

"It wasn't performance enhancing in the sense that for me, I had this problem - I had problems with asthma attacks, I had problems with breathing that flared up through pollen season. This was an anti-inflammatory drug that was taken to prevent that happening so I could compete on the same level that I had all year and on the same level with my rivals.

"This wasn't a medication that was abused in order to gain an advantage."

That's not what your former coach Shane Sutton says - he says your use of the drug was "unethical".

"That hurts me, actually. Shane knows exactly why I was taking that medication. My asthma inhalers that I had been on throughout my career, I had complained of these problems during the Dauphine, complained after the Dauphine. I went to see a specialist outside of the team in order to see what we could do, what would I be able to do in order to combat this or at least prevent it from happening so I could compete at the highest level at the peak of the season when I had worked to that point.

"That really hurts me that someone like Shane would say that."

So he's lying is he? Shane Sutton? He's twisting the facts?

"I don't know what his motivation is, that's all I'll say."

But you are clear he's wrong, it wasn't unethical?

"I am a rider riding for Team Sky, the biggest team in the world at that point. I am paid as the team leader and, as most riders in any sport not just cycling - if you've got niggles, problems, a knee injury, common cold, you go to the doctor in the team.

"We are constantly there. We are hypochondriacs as athletes, especially coming to the height of the season, the biggest race of the year, whether it is the Olympic Games or the Tour de France.

"So it was completely under medical need and this whole thing has been a complete mess of innuendo and rumour and nothing has been substantiated, and I am having to deal with the fall-out of that now. Which is almost impossible. How do I do it? There have been no medical records to back that up or substantiate what's been said. So I am kind of left in the middle here now, trying to pick up the pieces."

Do you understand why there is such suspicion? You don't make any reference in your book to injections. You don't make any reference to being ill. It all adds up to a cloud of suspicion. Do you understand why people now have doubts?

"I understand the way this whole thing has played out over the last 18 months, it's been a long old process. I have not been able to speak until this point because we have had a legal investigation going on with UK Anti-Doping (Ukad). I didn't want to jeopardise that, because I was fighting for my life. I have got a malicious allegation made by an anonymous source to start with, and I have got to now somehow feed my way through.

"I acted as a witness to the Ukad investigation, that was all I was told I was. This one, the report, I have not heard anything since this thing started, and at the 11th hour last week I was asked if I would like to comment on it. I was asked five questions, none of the questions were the current allegations that have been made. One and a half of the answers were published in the report.

"The first time I am aware of being accused of anything was today. At least I now know what I am being accused of, because the last 18 months has all been dilly-dallying about, innuendo, no-one has actually said - for legal reasons, because they can't because it's libellous, because now we have got to the stage where they have used parliamentary privilege to make it legal, being able to say it without repercussions - and now they are of the opinion that this is what we were doing.

"So I have got no comeback on this, this is now taken as fact. I have now got to prove that this is wrong."

Why this discrepancy in your book between being well?

"I have described that in the past. The landscape at the time - I had won everything that season, I was doing a book in three or four days with a ghost writer. I am still competing at the highest level and I have discussed about showing weakness to your opponent. I have talked about my asthma before on the front of Asthma UK magazine back in 2004 after the Olympic Games, talking about the problems I had over the years with that."

Why the timing, if this was a genuine illness and you had to take something for it when it arose, why this convenient timing just before these three major races?

"Because of the type of grass pollen I am allergic to. It was around this period. The grass pollen goes in seasons, and this particular strain of grass pollen I was allergic to, it was at a heightened period during June and July.

"I answered these questions before: 'Why didn't you take it in 2016?' Because I was racing indoors, I didn't have these problems. These problems flared up riding through fields and we are riding for three weeks at a time through France, it was the biggest race of the year. I had won everything that season, I wasn't going to jeopardise the work we had put in at that stage."

Can you clarify one thing, in 2016 you appeared to answer when asked by the Guardian if you had taken triamcinolone out of competition that you didn't, yet in the report now we hear you have acknowledged that you did indeed take it out of competition? Can you explain that discrepancy?

"I never used it in competition without a TUE. So until I had that piece of paper and that document that said I was authorised to take it, it was never took. Out of competition, I had an injection after the 2013 Giro d'Italia, when I came out with a knee problem, and I had an injection into the knee socket to solve that problem. Then, under the rules at that time, you couldn't race for two weeks, so I didn't race for two months after that until the Tour of Poland."

So you have taken it out of competition on one occasion?


But in the report there's a suggestion that you have taken it as many as nine times in four years?

"That's completely malicious. That is an allegation that has been made by an unsubstantiated… I would like to see some evidence to back that up.

"It's in one paragraph in the report and then never mentioned again. Also, if this was the case, why hasn't this piece of evidence come to light under the legal investigation with Ukad? This is the first time it has come to light. It seems very odd it has come to light in this parliamentary hearing and not before now."

It's a lie?

"Absolutely, I refute that 100%. This is malicious, this. This is someone trying to smear me.

"I would love to know who it is, I think it would answer a lot of questions."

The MPs say 'we believe this powerful corticosteroid was used to prepare you for the Tour de France, the purpose not to treat medical need, but to improve power-to-weight ratio ahead of the race', you benefited they say, from the performance-enhancing qualities of the drug during the race?

"What do they base that on?"

Well is it true?

"No, it's not true at all. There was medical need for it. This was about bringing me back to a level playing field so I can compete at the same level, as I had done all season up to that point."

Do you accept there is a performance-enhancing element?

"A lot of that period was about me maintaining weight. I was already at race weight at the Dauphine - why would I jeopardise that by taking more? This was about me having a problem, going to the team doctors, flagging this problem, then them seeking a way of treating it - under no circumstances in my career was this ever used or suggested that it would be performance enhancing, it wasn't about that."

You must have known there was a risk in taking it?

"The rules at the time, under an application of a TUE... It's not just going into a chemist and going 'I'll have that', there was a process, you have a specialist report, it goes to the UCI (cycling's governing body), they then decide, their panel then decides whether you are granted this TUE or not. Until that application comes back and I can take that medication."

The report says a small group of riders all used corticosteroids to lean down in preparation for races.

"100% not true. That's a complete fabricated, malicious allegation and I don't know what the motive is behind that. What's criminal about training with a small group of riders? We were the Tour de France team, we would go and train at altitude. Most teams do that, they still do that today."

Do you regret taking the drug now?

"It's seven years ago. That was the treatment at that time prescribed for that in 2011/12/13, so they were the rules at the time that you were permitted to take that drug, and I was granted permission to do that by the governing bodies at that time.

"It's easy to think with everything that has happened now to sit here and go 'yeah, I regret it…' It's happened. I can't turn the clock back."

Would you have won the Tour de France without it in 2012?

"Well, had I had an asthma attack, no, probably not. No."

Can you categorically say you didn't cheat?

"100%, never throughout my career, no. I worked and had the passion I have had for this sport for 15-20 years. You've got jerseys, I am writing a book, I have been writing a book in here all morning, about the love of the sport. To do that to the sport? It's just absurd.

"These allegations, it's the worst thing to be accused of, I have said that before, but it is also the hardest thing to prove you haven't done. We are not dealing within a legal system - I would have more rights if I had murdered someone in this process.

"I have been gagged for the last 18 months because there was a legal investigation going on, I couldn't say anything. Then I was still waiting on this DCMS report. These allegations have never been put to me before now. I have only found out today what I am actually being accused of.

"The whole jiffy bag thing was just a shambles."

What was in the jiffy bag?

"God knows, your guess was as good as mine."

Brad, you're a world-class athlete and you don't know what's going into your body?

"Dan, let me tell you something - I was doing the Dauphine, I was leading the Dauphine, I won the Dauphine. The first time I became aware of a package was when the Daily Mail contacted me in October 2016.

"But the way it has been reported is as if I have ordered this package and I am waiting for DHL to deliver it for me, and I have got to sign for it: 'thanks for the medical package'. I don't run the team, I don't run the logistics of the team, I was busy doing my job that I was paid to do.

"The innuendo of that allegation was that there was an injection done in the back of the bus, in front of 12 other people, that no-one else mysteriously didn't see. We would have been breaking the rules had we done that."

So there was no injection?

"No. Absolutely not. We travelled six hours later on a training camp to Sestiere at high altitude and I was treated that night when the doctor came with Fluimucil with a nebuliser. That story would have had no weight had an anonymous source not come along and said 'I saw Brad being injected on the back of the bus - we've got a story on our hands…'

"At that point I can't comment on it, because it's under investigation. Ukad told me in September, I had a meeting with them, they opened the investigation on the back of the Daily Mail article, with regards to the package.

"Now, once that investigation got opened, I am gagged for legal reasons until I have acted as a witness, I have given them all the information, I have told them all this."

Was there not something there that evening?

"In Sestriere, out of competition, not on the bus. Because we are still tidying up - I was doing podium, I was doing press, I was doing dope control. I had just won the race.

"We were going to a training camp then in Sestriere for one week after that, which we all travelled to from La Toussuire to Sestriere, a three-hour drive, two-and-a-half-hour drive, whatever it is. The doctor came with us to Sestriere to then treat the riders, whatever they needed, any niggles."

Which doctor?

"Doctor Freeman."

Why say before there was nothing administered that evening?

"I haven't been able to say anything because there was an investigation going on, based on that package and the Daily Mail article that was written about that package.

"So Ukad opened the investigation based on the back of that Daily Mail article. Matt Lawton asked me those questions before he wrote the article, and I said exactly what I said to you, 'I knew nothing about the package until you have now told me it'. I didn't know the contents of it, I didn't even know there was a package until I was asked about it.

"Then obviously since that investigation was opened, which took 12, 13 months to conclude, I couldn't. Not wanting to jeopardise the investigation that was going on."

You told the committee you don't know what was in the package?

"I don't know, your guess is as good as mine. I didn't even know if there was a package. It's become such a, I just don't know, a furore and a mess, and obviously what didn't help was all the things that came with the start of that package. People trying to, you know… pouring petrol on it, someone was supposed to be somewhere else, someone was supposed to be here."

It doesn't look good does it?

"No, of course it doesn't. It's ludicrous."

Is that because it was Triamcinolone and you were injected with it that evening?

"Not on me. At the end of the day, the buck stops with me. I am the athlete here, I have just won the biggest pre-Tour race, I am not going to break the rules by injecting, when two weeks later I had a piece of paper to say I could do it legally.

"So no rules were broken."

So there was a TUE applied for?

"Not at that point. No."

At the end of May there was an application for a TUE for Triamcinolone it wasn't granted until…

"Yeah, it was granted until…."

So when did you get that one? The one that was applied for?

"It was seven days, six days before the Tour de France. Had I had that injection when the innuendo was that I did, I won the National Road Race a week later, it would have shown in my urine at the National Road Race, I got tested there. So I would have been breaking the rules and tested positive."

So they go to the trouble of bringing Fluimucil that they could have bought locally all the way over from Manchester via Simon Cope, which you were then given the following day?

"That evening. The same evening, the day the race finished. We then drove to Sestriere, Dr Freeman came to Sestriere, we were all then treated then. Everyone is scrambling around at the end of races, getting their bags, suitcases, people are going different directions."

You are saying you don't know what was in this package?

"I don't know. I can only go on what I have been told. Apparently it was for me, I don't know. Could have been for anyone, but apparently it was for me.

"The anonymous source said it was for me, so I don't know. I can only tell you, if it did have Triamcinolone in it, it didn't go in my backside. Which is what is being suggested, because it would have shown in my urine at the National Road Race."

So you had that injection of Triamcinolone at a later stage?

"Yes. Once I had the certification from Wada and the UCI that I was able to take it, it was then taken and administered."

Why did Sky get themselves into such a pickle?

"God knows. Maybe it was the lack of records, who knows. I am obviously following that whole scenario from when it evolved and it was just snowballing and it was just one hiccup after another.

"I am the athlete and the rider, and all I could control at that time was the medical records I had, which were shown to Ukad, presented to them, and that's all I have got to go on. I can't account for who took what where, what was in it.

"They have admitted fault for that. And if that's the worst thing they have done.. but all the speculation, sensationalism that has come out of that has been way off."

It was not just lack of medical records, the explanations given initially were wrong, a laptop nicked?

"Of course, and that all becomes fact… a year ago I was on Soccer AM and I said 'hopefully I'll have my say soon', a year on and I am just having my first say on it. I can only control in this whole period, this whole madness, this mad pack outside waving pitchforks and that, it's just all I could control, was what I could control.

"I am trying to cooperate with Ukad, I am then hoping they would wrap that up pretty quickly so I can move on with my life. Here we are still, in March of 2018, and this report has come out and it has left us in a worse position.

"We've had a legal case already that has been wrapped up, and now it's just put it out there and now I have got to deal with this. There is nothing to substantiate it, there is nothing to back it up. These anonymous sources, I mean it's ludicrous.

"Will we ever know who this source is? Or the motivation behind it? What do we do know? Where do we go from here? I am now going to do a series of interviews and just try and explain through this now, piece by piece."

Just so we are clear, Brad, that package as far as you're concerned contained Fluimucil and that's what you were given that evening?

"No. Let me clarify this. That package, as we have been told in the Houses of Parliament, contained Fluimucil. I had Fluimucil that night, whether it came out of that package or not - maybe it did, if they were short of it and they needed more brought out, then maybe yeah. I was on Fluimucil that whole week. With the problems I had with pollen and allergies, I had mucus on my chest, blocked nose and everything and I was using that through a nebuliser to break down the mucus to get the phlegm off my chest.

"Whether it had anything else in the package, I don't know. Only a select few people will know exactly what was in that package. I don't know, I didn't order it, it wasn't delivered to me as reported.

"So I am just what I have seen in the press or in the Houses of Parliament, I can't categorically say 'yes, it did have this…' I don't know. I know what I was treated with and I know what I did and didn't do at the end of that race.

"As I told the Ukad investigation, this whole thing about being treated at the back of the bus, someone's supposedly saw it, well what about the other 12 riders on the bus that were all getting showered and changed and getting their suitcases ready? It's just complete fabrication and malicious as well.

"It's a deliberate, malicious allegation to create this and now we're having to prove the negative, which is almost impossible."

Even if there has been no cheating, do you now accept that the standard by which Team Sky moulded themselves on and committed to, has been breached?

"A lot of this could have been solved very early on, with clear records, clear record-keeping, this that and the other. I'm not in control of that, I'm doing my job as best as I can. I'm doing what's asked of me, logging training, putting it on an internet page for people to see it… everything else around me, the transportation of medical products or this that and the other I'm not sat there thinking I'll ask the question of this, ensure that everyone's doing their job.

"I think it's just a sign of the times as well, back in 2011 the initial thing of this package, year two of Team Sky, just carnage, disorganisation in the sense that British Cycling employees coming over with this that and the other and being in the velodrome…"

This is supposed to be the marginal gains team - all about attention to detail. It doesn't add up.

"Well, no, it doesn't."

Is was a myth, wasn't it?

"I don't think it is now. I think this is a well-oiled ship now, from what I understand, I don't know, I haven't been in the team for three years. I went to a thing in Nice last year with Rapha and the ex-team chef was there, Henrik, talking in a Q and A, he was saying now there's a WhatsApp group and they have to see what's left on the table after they've cooked a meal and there's this much rice and this much pasta and they can work out from that how much carbs everyone's had or they haven't had.

"The first thing I said is 'it's a shame they couldn't keep a bloody record of what was in this package that went out', because if they would've we wouldn't be here now.

"From the package point of view, there wouldn't have been an investigation, there wouldn't have been a Daily Mail article, we would have been able to just nip it in the bud earlier."

What is the motive behind the allegation?

'I don't know, that is what really worries me at the moment. It's the motive behind this, the timing of it, the timing of a lot of other things that were happening in British Cycling and Team Sky at that time, me coming to the end of my career.

"I'm trying to be in retirement and do other things in my life. Just the effect it's had, the widespread effect it's had on the family. It's just horrific, I'm having to pick up the pieces with the kids. I'm left to do that as well as try and salvage my reputation. I wouldn't wish it on anyone."

You described it as a living hell a few months ago in a statement?

"And I got criticised for saying that. Why? The effect it's had on my family, that was a living hell. I understand I have to answer the questions, which I wasn't able to do up until that point, but it's just that really.

"I wish I could sit here now and say I could show you this, I could show you this, I could show you this but obviously I can't do that. I can only tell you what I know from that time on recall and it's what I told Ukad, and I wasn't even given the opportunity to tell the parliamentary hearing.

"Let's substantiate, show us the new evidence that you've got because it's funny that this has never come to light before, during a legal investigation when it could have done and we could have been sanctioned if that was the case, if that was found - it wasn't. They cited lack of evidence in the Ukad inquiry, so where's this come from? And being able to remain anonymous?"

But it's not Ukad's fault is it?

"No it's not Ukad's fault. Ukad were doing what they had to do."

But you're clear that failure to keep basic medical records was down to sloppiness rather than it was a convenient story to cover up?

"No, I think it was computers going missing, this that and the other, that's not my fault, that's out of my control isn't it?"

Is Sir Dave Brailsford the right man to lead this team forward or should he go?

'Well, I still think that what he's done for the sport, it will be a shame if he had to go when a lot of this is just, it's a report based on rumour and anonymous sources, and they've already admitted fault for those years in terms of record-keeping and stuff.

"I think once things are substantiated and if proven, then maybe he should go, but until that is we can't just take this report as set in concrete. I mean this has now become fact, that's it, you know this is fact."

The lack of medical record-keeping - that's fact.

"It's been three years since this and that's all they can come up with? It would have been nice to have been asked the question. I would have loved to have been asked the question.

"This allegation has been made through new evidence that has come to light - 'have you got any response to this, Bradley?' I would have loved to have been asked the question, given the opportunity to respond to it.

"I got five wishy-washy questions about packages and other stuff that I knew nothing about, I mean, these are serious allegations that have a large impact on someone's life. I should at least be given a fair trial and an opportunity to be able to answer them."

And you haven't been given that, you don't think?

"Not by the report, no. I got an 11th-hour email last week: 'We'd like to give you five questions to answer'."

Lack of medical record keeping - we now have the Chris Froome situation, your story is hardly in isolation, is it?


So that's why I asked if Dave Brailsford should go?

"Well, I think they're going through a process at the moment. I think they should be at least allowed to go through that process.

"Normally people get the opportunity to go through that without that being in the public domain. So I think the least they deserve is being able to go through this process, because again that's not a nice thing to be accused of.

"I don't know enough medically whether that is a natural thing that can occur in your body or not, so I think they [can] at least allow an opportunity to present their findings. That's what this country is famous for, its justice system and being able to do that."

He had a fair bit to say though didn't he, Chris Froome, about TUEs? He was quite pointed with what he was saying about you.

"Yeah, but I think I'm always dubious of people in those positions. I sat with you in 2013 in a Sky training camp talking about Lance Armstrong, there's messages that you're being told.

"I'd love to talk freely as I've been able to talk today, and I think under the landscape of that time as the Tour de France winner, I don't think I really felt that I spoke my mind.

"I always question what people say, especially under the current landscape in cycling because a lot of the time I think people just tell you what they think the journalist wants to hear, because they don't want the hassle. I just want to get on with the job tomorrow of racing this race."

You are our greatest ever Olympian, you were the first Brit to win the Tour de France, described as a national treasure in the past, do you feel all those achievements and your legacy has been permanently tainted by all this?

"Well it remains to be seen, doesn't it? I've now got a road of trying to have my say and be able to explain at least my side. One of the biggest things was not being able to speak the last year or year and a half, and in doing that you leave people to write their own stories.

"I want to put this thing to bed and I'll do more interviews this week if I have to. I've got nothing to hide, this is about me now being able to have my say and let people decide for themselves by actually bringing a bit of balance back to this whole thing.

"At the moment it's been so weighted and one-sided and I just think this needs a bit of balance and perspective. This report today is a political report based on rumour and there's nothing to substantiate it. Who are these sources? Come out. If you really feel that deep about it that you've got to go and tell the Houses of Parliament about it then go on record, put your name to it, because it will validate it. Where's the evidence? Show the evidence because this is serious stuff.

When it comes to the Triamcinolone some would say it's understandable, it's within the rules and the committee did not accuse you of breaking any rules, so if you did use it then so be it, it was just a marginal gain. If any cyclists had done that, if you were using that kind of substance for performance-enhancing, would that be breaking the rules or cheating?

"Well, apparently it would be according to the people that have commented on it. It's a lovely, poetic story that ties in with this whole situation we've been in for the last 12 months of lost records, people trying to put stories down or make them disappear or this, that and the other.

"It makes a lovely story, but the reality is quite different. What if we didn't? What if it was all legitimate and there was medical need and we followed all the right protocols and we went to the specialist that would produce it, we went to the UCI? They were the rules at the time.

"As the athlete, there was no playing of the system. I was doing my job as a professional in the sport that I love and continue to love and will continue to love until my dying days. It's not a sport that I would have abused or risked putting myself at jeopardy. I have every pride in what I achieved on my bike and continue to. I still have the jersey and the bike helmet hanging up at home.

"I don't think 'oh god I wish I'd never done that'. I stand by it, no rules were ever broken, I certainly didn't play the system and I didn't cheat the system throughout my career. This wasn't something I did on a yearly basis whatever the target, whether it's the Paris-Roubaix, the hour record or the Olympic team-pursuit, this was at the time."

Some people will look at that substance and the Professor Lipworths of this world and...

"Who's he?"

From the Scottish Centre for Respiratory Research. He says you would have to be "utterly bonkers" to use that corticosteroid for asthma, so strong is it that you would have to be almost hospitalised with asthma to warrant using such a substance!

For every Professor Lipworth there's another doctor who will say the opposite to that. I've had people contacting me throughout this whole process saying this is ludicrous and this is bonkers.

"There's been a deliberate use of the language 'powerful steroid', it's not a powerful steroid these doctors are telling me, it's an anti-inflammatory drug and that it's not even ranked in the top five of steroids. Prednisolone is much higher, used for bee stings, chest infections etc.

"There's been a deliberate choice of language on these things. You have to be hospitalised? You're talking about elite athletes that are competing in the high mountains and trying to be 100% and bring yourself back to a level playing field when you've got asthma problems or suffering from allergies.

David Millar says it's incredibly strong.

"What can I say to that?"

You can't sit here and say that you didn't get any performance-enhancement from that, can you? It's not possible to say that with any certainty is it?

"No, I can't."

Was that the intention?

"That's the key: intention. Whether there was or wasn't I don't know. I can't sit here and say that.

"I'd won every bike race up to that point, I'd won every time trial that season and I continued that pattern through the Tour de France. It wasn't me coming out of the blue, this was me on an 18-month progression working towards this objective.

"Intention, that's the key to it. Was there a performance enhancement? You tell me there was. There may well have been, yeah, but they were the rules at the time to treat this problem. That's what I was prescribed. I can't change the last five years."

Did you feel let down by what you were advised to do?

"I don't feel let down by what I was advised to do at that time. I've been let down since, in terms of the last 12-15 months, what's happened with packages and the outcome of this report based on anonymous sources.

"The least I deserve is some hard evidence. If that's the accusation, well where's the evidence to support that? Come on, let's put it out there. Because I'm left here now. 'That's the end of it, report's over, you pick the pieces up Jack, get on with it'. And I've got to now do that."

Shane Sutton is evidence though isn't it? A man who was right there in the team, almost a father figure to you - now saying you used that drug unethically. And not only that, a few months ago he said Team Sky used TUEs to 'get gains'.

"Yeah but he didn't say that at the Houses of Parliament in December, did he?"

He's said it since.

"But why? I don't know what his motivation is for that. I haven't spoken to him for a year."

Do you worry about what the UCI are going to do about this?

"They were the rules at the time, they said I could take it. It was under their rules at the time. They went to their panel, whether I could be granted this TUE…

"But they are going to look at this report and see in black and white that these MPs clearly believe that these TUEs were taken for gains.

"They can only go on the specialist report I was given. I had things prodded up my nose and… what can I say - they were their rules at the time and that was the application. If they didn't feel it was… they could have denied the application."

We've spoken to Josh Edmondson, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, both refer to the unethical use of tramadol, a very powerful painkiller. It doesn't relate to you but was that something you witnessed something like that at the time?

"No, I used tramadol. I used it in training sometimes. It wasn't like it was described. You were allowed to use it at that time and it wasn't being dished out on the bus.

"Things like that is where it blurs, people are coming from all angles. We're talking about one thing and someone will throw something else into the ring. It just adds weight to this whole kind of thing. The things that were going around at a certain period are just wild and way off the mark and completely out of context."

Do you think it's a witch hunt?

"I've not been able to get my head round some things. I was asked certain questions by a certain journalist for a certain newspaper about certain things and back in the end of 2016 I was asked whether I'd missed a test or not. And I freely volunteered the information and said I'd never missed a test in all the years of whereabouts I've never missed a test.

"I had a filing failure. I didn't even have a strike, I had a filing failure - for not putting the right details in on a long-haul flight from California back in 2016. And that was just lack of information, I was on a long-haul flight. I didn't have a test, miss a test or anything like that.

"The story that came out from that information was 'Wiggins in missed test blunder just three months before…' What equates to a missed test doping blunder? I mean, just that, that choice of language. How do you get a story like that from that?

"And 'Wiggins shuns Olympic parade'. I haven't been to an Olympic parade since 2004, I don't do them, I don't like the adulation on stage with everyone else. And it was just constant story after story after story - 'let's see how much more we can add'.

"And that to me adds as much weight to this whole package thing, to discredit him at any opportunity. That's a witch hunt because there's nothing to substantiate that. And there's an investigation on so obviously I can't speak as well, so it's just week after week after week."

Many people will watch this and have belief in what you say. Others won't believe what you've said, won't believe what Team Sky say either. How does that make you feel, that many have had enough when it comes to trusting cycling?

"That's the sport that we're in. It's the most scrutinised sport in the world."

But Team Sky was meant to provide hope, credibility, trust, and there's not much left.

"I can't control that, what people are going to think or not think. All I can tell you is from my point of view, what I experienced, and I'm not in control of what people are going to make of it.

"You've also got to remember that some people, whatever you're going to do is never going to be good enough. I just don't know anymore in this sport. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't."

You've mentioned your family. We've heard this before from sportspeople in your position, I remember Lance Armstrong saying it, one of the things he worried about most was his kids. Is that something which preys on your mind?

"Yeah, constantly. It's all that matters really in this. I'll get a flogging, I don't mind getting a flogging, if it'll help me I'll go back to Henry VIII times and stick my head in one of those things and get people to flog me, but it's the kids.

"What's reported - people see what's reported and they get a hammering at school and it's disgusting. It's disgusting to witness it and what do you do about it? This has been going on for such a long time now. Just look at the papers today, they say one thing but that's not exactly it.

You're tired of it, it seems to me.

"I would have liked a better process because that's it now. That report, that's fact now. They'll move on to something else now, this bunch of MPs, and it would have been nice to comment on the allegations."

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