Froome says will defend Tour de France title despite investigation
LONDON (Reuters) – Chris Froome will ride in the Giro d‘Italia this year and try to defend his Tour de France title even if an investigation into his adverse doping test is ongoing, the Briton said as he prepared to launch his season on Wednesday.
Four-times Tour champion Froome is battling to clear his name after an increased dosage of asthma medication at last year’s Vuelta a Espana resulted in an ‘adverse analytical finding” from a urine sample.
Team Sky rider Froome, whose sample showed double the permissible limit of Salbutamol, has denied any wrongdoing and is free to race as he is not suspended.
“I hope it doesn’t get that far but I‘m still allowed to race now and I don’t see why not,” Froome, who competes in Spain’s Ruta del Sol this week in his first race since the findings became public in December, told BBC Sport.
International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient said last month that Team Sky should voluntarily suspend Froome until the investigation is complete.
Froome disagrees, saying other riders continue to compete under similar circumstances.
“This is a process that a lot of other riders have gone through, I don’t see why I should have different treatment to all of them,” the 32-year-old said.
“They were all racing in the meantime until they got to the end of their processes. It’s not going to go any faster if I was sitting at home. We’re going as fast as we can on it and hopefully get it resolved as soon as possible.”
Froome risks missing the Tour de France and could lose his Vuelta crown unless he can provide a satisfactory explanation for the failed test during the Spanish race.