The British cyclist has been cleared following an investigation into the alleged misuse of an asthma drug. Froome hopes to win the prestigious French tour for a record-equaling fifth time in July.Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has been cleared of a potential anti-doping violation by the ruling body UCI and could now be able to compete in the prestigious French race, which starts in less than a week.
The Team Sky cyclist has been under a cloud since he was found to have twice the permissible amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during September’s Vuelta a Espana, which he won.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that the anti-doping proceedings involving Mr Christopher Froome have now been closed,” cycling’s ruling body announced.
Froome won the Vuelta and was able to continue competing while the case was dealt with, winning the Giro d’Italia two months ago. Tour organizers ASO were reportedly considering not to allow him to race, which could prove difficult after the UCI ruling.
“I am very pleased that the UCI has exonerated me,” said Froome in a statement issued by Team Sky. “While this decision is obviously a big deal for me and the Team, it’s also an important moment for cycling. I know exactly what the rules are regarding my asthma medication and I only ever use my puffer to manage my symptoms within the permissible limits.”
He did, however, admit annoyance at the way in which the investigation was carried out.
“Of course, the UCI had to examine these test results from the Vuelta. Unfortunately, the details of the case did not remain confidential, as they should have done,” the statement also stated. “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 decision should hand Froome the opportunity to emulate five-time Tour de France winners Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain when the 3,329km Tour kicks off in Noirmoutier-en-Ille on July 7.
em/mds (AFP, Reuters)