COMO, Italy: Tour de France runner-up Romain Bardet on Friday called for rigorous independent checks of controversial “Therapeutic Use Exemptions” (TUEs) where athletes can benefit from massive cortisone boosts with no threat of a doping ban. A doping data hacking group earlier this month revealed that Tour de France champion Chris Froome had twice benefitted from TUE’s earlier in his career. “It’s up to the authorities to take a strong stand. Why not have a truly independent medical team at the World Anti-Doping Agency. The current committee just bases its decisions around what team doctors say. We need a definitive end to a system where an unscrupulous doctor can prescribe cortisone for imaginary illnesses,” Frenchman Bardet said.