LONDON (AP) Former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins said he needed permission to use a banned substance to treat his asthma to ensure he was ''back on a level playing field.''
The British rider's confidential medical information featured in one of the leaks resulting from an alleged Russian-led cyberattack on the World Anti-Doping Agency database. The eight-time Olympic medalist was given three injections of an anti-inflammatory drug between 2011 and 2013.
Wiggins insisted earlier this month that there was ''nothing new'' about his need for asthma medication but he has now given an interview to the BBC to further defend his need for a ''Therapeutic Use Exemption'' that allows athletes to use otherwise-banned substances because of a verified medical need.
''This was to cure a medical condition,'' Wiggins said in the interview, which was broadcast Sunday. ''This wasn't about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage. This was about putting myself back on a level playing field in order to compete at the highest level.''
The treatment was approved by cycling authorities and there is no suggestion any rules have been broken, but the former Team Sky rider has still come under scrutiny over his use of TUEs.
''Unfortunately when you're the best at what you do sometimes comes scrutiny,'' Wiggins said, referring to his team. ''Especially in a sport that has a tainted history.''
Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France in 2012 as part of Team Sky.