Published: Thu, December 14, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Chris Froome protests innocence after asthma drug revelation

Chris Froome protests innocence after asthma drug revelation

Chris Froome's renewed protestations of innocence on Thursday were accompanied by doubts about why the four-time Tour de France champion was not immediately suspended for failing a doping test. Martin finished a disappointing ninth.

When asked if whether he felt fans might lose faith in him and cycling even if he were cleared, Froome added: "Well I can't say what other people are going to think at the end of this".

Italian rider Alessandro Petacchi was eventually given a one-year ban for taking too many puffs at the 2007 Giro. There is definitely a double standard being applied in the Christopher Froome case.

The UCI said Froome's B sample - athletes' anti-doping samples are split into A and B samples as a fail-safe precaution - had been analysed and it confirmed the results of the initial test. He and his team were given, by the UCI, time to explain themselves. I do not know of any similar case in the recent past. "This is a scandal, especially since he should not have been able to compete in the world championships". "I have given all that information to the UCI to help get to the bottom of it". "Do he and his team enjoy a special status?" he wrote.

"These actions are major blow to the hard anti-doping fight.w e need a consequent and transparent approach by the UCI. What is going on here is inconsequent, not transparent, unprofessional and unfair".

The Team Sky rider had double the allowed level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine.

Team principal Dave Brailsford said: "There are complex medical and physiological issues which affect the metabolism and excretion of Salbutamol".

"My hope is that this doesn't prevent asthmatic athletes from using their inhalers in emergency situations for fear of being judged".

"I have certainly shared everything I have with the UCI and told them exactly, I have got a very clear routine when I use my inhaler and how many times I use it, and I have given all that information to the UCI to help get to the bottom of this", he said.

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And went on to say that though he is confident of being cleared of any wrong doing, "the stigma will remain". The test was conducted following Stage 18 of the three-week Vuelta.

He and his team are now trying to build a scientific argument to explain how this unusual, but legal, dose translated to an illegal concentration of the drug in his sample.

He became the first Briton to win the three-week race around Spain and it followed his Tour de France victory in July.

Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ from a training camp in Majorca, the four-time Tour victor said: "This is damaging". I hope we'll get to the end of this process and people will know that.

"You have to take a bit of a step back here and remember that during a grand tour, I'm in the leader's jersey, I'm obviously being tested every day but more than that, I am racing against guys who are looking for any kind of weakness", he said.

In a statement on the Team Sky Website, Froome said: "It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are".

Sky said Froome had to take an increased dosage of salbutamol without exceeding the permissible dose after experiencing "acute asthma symptoms" during the final week of the Vuelta.

"So we did increase it and that's why we're faced with this question of "I did stay within the limits but obviously the test results show a different reading" so we're trying to evaluate what has happened".

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