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The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) have confirmed a sample collected from British cycling star Chris Froome contained more than the legal amount of asthma drug Salbutamol.
In a statement on the UCI website, it’s noted the sample was taken during the Vuelta a Espana on September 7, an event Froome won. As noted by Sean Ingle and Martha Kelner of the Guardian, he is now in danger of losing the victory as a result of this abnormal test, which indicated he had double the allowable limit.
“The analysis of the B sample has confirmed the results of the rider’s A sample and the proceedings are being conducted in line with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules,” continued the statement.
Per BBC Sport, Froome, a four-time Tour de France winner, said the UCI are “absolutely right” to demand more information about his Salbutamol measurement and that he “followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage.”
According to Kelner and Ingle, Froome’s Team Sky have been seeking to challenge the result of the test, which is why it’s taken until December to come to light in public.
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“However if the Briton is unable to offer a sufficient explanation for the abnormal finding or challenge the result itself he will forfeit his Vuelta title under the rules of cycling’s world governing body, the UCI,” continued the piece.
In addition, Froome is said to be facing a suspension from the sport if the decision isn’t reversed, meaning he would potentially miss next year’s Giro d’Italia and Tour. Sports journalist Daniel Friebe documented some other examples of similar cases in the sport:
Daniel Friebe @friebos
Sky say Froome’s salbutamol concentration was 2000ng/ml.
Diego Ulissi got a nine-month ban for 1920ng/ml in 2014.
Petacchi got a year for
1320ng/ml in 2007.
BUT Leonardo Piepoli got no ban for levels reportedly similar to Petacchi’s in 2007.
Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford added in a statement on the stable’s website he is confident the rider “followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol.”
Cycling News’ Daniel Benson picked up on some interesting facets in the statement from Team Sky:
Daniel Benson @dnlbenson
The language used by Team Sky in their release is interesting. There’s blame towards a doc, no surprise, but then Brailsford says, ‘I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance’ . Not the team, ‘Chris’.
The news is a blemish at the end of what has been a memorable year for Froome in which he clinched the Vuelta-Tour double, becoming only the third man in cycling history to do so.
While his success in the sport has been remarkable, cycling fans have failed to take to Froome despite having never previously returned any positive samples. As he effectively clinched his fourth Tour win in Marseille earlier in the year, he was roundly booed by the home crowd as he entered the Stade Velodrome.