Chris Froome cleared by UCI in doping case

02 July 2018 - 13:46 By Arnab Paul
Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky during stage 15 of the 2013 Tour de France.
Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky during stage 15 of the 2013 Tour de France.

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome was cleared by cycling’s world governing body on Monday of any wrongdoing after he tested positive for excessive levels of the asthma drug salbutamol and he is free to race in this year’s event, which starts on Saturday.

Froome, 33, had tested positive for excessive levels of salbutamol following a urine sample at last September’s Vuelta a Espana.

“On 28 June 2018, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informed the UCI that it would accept, based on the specific facts of the case, that Mr Froome’s sample results do not constitute an Adverse Analytical Finding,” the International Cycling Union (UCI) said in a statement.

“In light of WADA’s unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome.”

The Briton had always denied any wrongdoing and has now been cleared to race in this year’s Tour de France, which begins on Saturday, by the organisers who had attempted to prevent the rider from competing while under investigation.

“We started a procedure three weeks ago claiming that Chris Froome taking part in the Tour de France would damage the reputation of the race. But now that the UCI has cleared him there’s no reason for us to prevent him from participating in the race,” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told Reuters.

He added: “Obviously the rules need to be changed, when there is an adverse analytical finding a rider should be provisionally suspended.”

Froome welcomed the news which means he can attempt to win a record-equalling fifth Tour when the race gets underway in Noirmoutier. “I am very pleased that the UCI has exonerated me. While this decision is obviously a big deal for me and the team, it’s also an important moment for cycling,” Froome said in a statement.

“I understand the history of this great sport – good and bad. I have always taken my leadership position very seriously and I always do things the right way. I meant it when I said that I would never dishonour a winner’s jersey and that my results would stand the test of time.

“I have never doubted that this case would be dismissed for the simple reason that I have known throughout I did nothing wrong... I appreciate more than anyone else the frustration at how long the case has taken to resolve and the uncertainty this has caused. I am glad it’s finally over.”

The Team Sky rider won the Giro d’Italia in May while the investigation was ongoing.

“We have always had total confidence in Chris and his integrity. We knew that he had followed the right medical guidance in managing his asthma at the Vuelta and were sure that he would be exonerated in the end, which he has been,” Team Sky’s team principal Dave Brailsford said.

- Reuters