During the 2017 Tdf, Tim Wellens abandoned during stage 15 due to bad allergies and not being able to breathe. The commentators said that his team would not "give him a waiver" to take allergy meds.

What exactly is a "waiver for medication"? Why does one need one during a major race and why would Wellens' team not give him one?

I can see how something like pseudoephedrine or a steroid could cause someone to test positive for prohibited substances in a race with strict substance rules and testing. Is this the entire reason that he was not granted a waiver?

I would think Wellens could/should have taken something benign to help, like a benedryl, in order to continue the race.

  • 2
    I'm not sure I'd want to take benedryl during a race. It impairs concentration and temperature regulation. Most likely the drugs in question are corticosteroids, which many consider performance enhancing. There was quite a hubbub last year concerning Sky's use of waivers for corticosteroids, I can imagine a team wanting to avoid that.
    – Jamie A
    Jul 18, 2017 at 13:52
  • You assume there is a drug that would help him and not fail a drug test.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 18, 2017 at 14:38
  • 2
    See Therapeutic Use Exemptions for more information on this. Jul 18, 2017 at 14:49
  • Also if it's going to take time to kick in (not an expert in benadryl) he might be out of at least the stage anyway. So it might have to be something stronger/injected.
    – Chris H
    Jul 18, 2017 at 15:46
  • 4
    Apparently Wellens refused the TUE: cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/… rather than being denied it by his team.
    – kmm
    Jul 18, 2017 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


There is asthma due to exercise. (Exercise-induced asthma). So one can have lung problem simply due to huge exercise. (not very likely in this case, but possible).

Waiver for meds in my view is "permission" to take a medication. E.g., epilepsy drug to prevent you from having seizure during the race.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.