Meet the cycling team that runs on TUEs to beat diabetes
“It is pretty simple,” says Stephen Clancy, in a voice so soft one fears it might shatter. “We don’t abuse TUEs. We don’t get performance gains. For us it is literally a matter of life or death: if we don’t take them we will die. And I think it would be unfair if someone said I shouldn’t be granted one for a lifelong condition.” He pauses, collects his thoughts and tugs another heartstring. “And aside from health reasons, you are going to tear away someone’s dreams.”
The subject is therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs)– certificates that allow athletes to use medication on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substances list because of an illness or condition – and whether they should be restricted or even banned. It is an issue that was blasted into the mainstream in September when the Russian hackers Fancy Bears published details of private TUEs of dozens of Olympic competitors. And it is one that appears likely to flare up again, given that Fancy Bears is promising more revelations and Team Sky’s Dave Brailsford is due to appear in parliament next month to answer why Bradley Wiggins received TUEs for triamcinolone – a substance which has a history of abuse in cycling and is otherwise banned – on the eve of the Tour de France in 2011 and 2012 and the Giro d’Italia in 2013.
Yet Clancy, a bright and amiable 24-year-old professional cyclist from Limerick, makes a passionate and persuasive case for why TUEs are absolutely necessary. For he, along with every rider in the Team Novo Nordisk cycling squad, has Type 1 diabetes. And without a TU Continue reading