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Brian Holm and Tim Wellens speak out on Froome salbutamol case

Joe Robinson
11 Jan 2018

Chris Froome and Team Sky face further criticism from the cycling world as the pressure increases

As another week passes with us seemingly getting no closer to a resolution regarding the Chris Froome salbutamol case, two more voices in the world of cycling have spoken out regarding the case.

This time Quick-Step Floors sport director Brian Holm and Lotto-Soudal rider Tim Wellens have had their say criticising not only Froome and his team but also the culture surrounding salbutamol and Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE). 

In an interview with Belgian television channel RTBFWellens gave a candid view on the use of salbutamol by pro cyclists, commenting that he is personally against the use of asthma medication for the benefits it can have.

'I sometimes feel some discomfort in the bronchi, so I learned that with a puff I could increase my breathing capacity by 7% or 8%,' he said.

'The doctors told me that I could use a puff, without a certificate, but I'm against puffs, I do not want to improve my breathing by 7% that way, and I think that when we start to use puffs, after we do not know how to live without them. I refuse to be dependent on this stuff, so I'm clearly against it, but a lot of people use it.'

The Belgian then also spoke of his anger at the TUE system and the grey area that surrounds certain products that can be seen to improve performance.

'It really bothers me to see riders use TUEs,' he added. 'Certainly sometimes we have no choice but it is up to everyone to decide in his soul and conscience if we want to use products or not. In my life, I have never accepted the slightest TUE.'

To further this, he gave an insight into his own approach and how he wants to be seen.

'I would like it to be white or black and not grey, we all know that a product like cortisone – which is in the grey zone – causes a lot of physical benefits.

'Sometimes because we're sick, we have no choice, we have to use it, but we can always decide to stop.'

Beyond Wellens, Holm voiced his opinion on the matter at a recent team training camp in Spain. 

When asked about the case, he quipped about Team Sky director Dave Brailsford before voicing his opinion on the outcome for Froome.

'Dave Brailsford's plan to clean up cycling isn't going so well,' said Holm, before adding, 'He doesn't speak so much when things go bad, the knight on his big white horse.'

Holm then turned to the potential ban facing Froome saying, 'My best guess would be nine months, but who knows?'

Holm added, 'Look, when he ran up Mont Ventoux at the Tour, no cyclist does that, and instead of losing time he was given seconds. That was kind of strange so who really knows.'