Nicole Cooke says UCI boss Brian Cookson should apologise to Tour de Romandie competitors after Chris Froome was granted a ‘therapeutic use exemption’ (TUE) to use steroids during the 2014 event.
The Team Sky rider obtained a TUE to compete in the event (in which he won), and Cooke has doubts over the process that allowed Froome to race whilst taking powerful corticosteroid after the Brit complained of chest pains.
“I don’t think it is at all right that Chris should have the race and prize money taken off him retrospectively, but Cookson needs to issue a very clear message: he should be apologising to the rest of the riders for failing them,” Cooke told The Guardian.
“That TUE application should not have been approved; Froome and Sky should have had a clear choice of either riding without steroids or pulling out. I never found I could be anywhere near the front of a long race when I was ill.
“[Hein] Verbruggen and McQuaid stand accused of favouring Armstrong. Cookson should not be in a position which leaves him open to accusations of favouring a Sky rider, the Sky team of which Cookson was a founding board member.”
Whilst rulings in regards to TUE’s have since been tightened, Cookson slammed Cooke’s accusations and says he had no involvement in any anti-doping processes.
“Ms Cooke’s accusation is simply wrong. I made it a firm pledge that I would separate myself from all anti-doping processes, specifically to avoid any potential conflict of interest, both for me personally and for the UCI in its role as governing body for the sport. And I have lived up to that pledge,” Cookson said.
“When it came to our attention that we were following an outdated procedure, we looked again at our processes and in order to ensure absolute integrity, the UCI confirmed in June 2014 that all TUE decisions must pass through the TUE Committee and be approved by three members unanimously, which is a stronger commitment than what is required by the international standard for therapeutic use exemptions. This has added an extra layer of accountability to the decision making process.”