Five-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has labelled allegations of cheating as "malicious".

This is someone trying to smear me - Wiggins hits out at cheating claims

Bradley Wiggins has claimed he is the victim of a "smear" campaign after once again strongly refuting allegations of cheating.

A Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee published a lengthy report that said Wiggins and his former employer Team Sky had "crossed an ethical line" by using therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to enhance performance and not just to treat medical needs.

Wiggins and Team Sky strongly refuted the claims, and the 2012 Tour de France champion has now spoken in a lengthy interview with BBC Sport in which he said: "I'd have had more rights if I'd murdered someone".

"Not at any time in my career did we cross the ethical line," he said. "I refute that 100 per cent. This is malicious, this is someone trying to smear me.

"[Cycling] is the most scrutinised sport in the world. I can't control what people are going to think but for some people, whatever you do it is not going to be enough. 

"I just don't know any more in this sport - you are damned if you do, damned if you don't.

"The widespread effect it has had on the family is just horrific. I am having to pick up the pieces with the kids - I would not wish it on anyone."

Wiggins was permitted TUEs for the corticosteroid triamcinolone – which is used to treat allergies and respiratory issues – before the 2011 and 2012 Tours, and the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

The DCMS report claimed a "well placed and respected source" stated Wiggins and a small group of riders trained separately ahead of the 2012 season, adding: "The source said they were all using corticosteroids out of competition to lean down in preparation for the major races that season."

Refuting the claims, Wiggins said: "Who are these sources? Come out. Go on record. This is serious stuff.

"I would have had more rights if I had murdered someone than in this process. I don't know what his [the source's] motivation is.

"It was completely under medical need and this whole thing has been a complete mess of innuendo and rumour. 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."

Asked if he could categorically deny he was a cheat, the five-time Olympic champion said: "100 per cent, never throughout my career, no. 

"I have worked and had the passion I have had for 15-20 years and 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."

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