Tour champion in drug trouble

Tour champion in drug trouble

Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, riders must restrict levels of Salbutamol, commonly found in inhalers used by asthmatics, to 1000 nanograms per milliliter but a test taken by the 32-year-old Team Sky cyclist towards the end of the 2017 Vuelta, which he went on to win, revealed nearly double that concentration, meaning that he has to explain the finding to the union (UCI) as per its anti-doping guidelines, reports Efe.

The team's principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said that he had the "utmost confidence" that Froome followed the medical guidance and stayed within the permissible limits of the medication.

Froome's increased dosage of Salbutamol to combat his acute asthma occurred in the run-up to the September 7 urine test.

Sky said Froome had suffered from asthma since childhood and takes Salbutamol, a common medication, to prevent and ease symptoms brought on by exercise.

The UCI has asked Froome to provide more information but, in line with World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines, has not suspended him.

Froome said the UCI was "absolutely right" to scrutinise the test results.

The 32-year-old Briton, who rides for Team Sky, says he has done nothing wrong and would provide "whatever information" world cycling's governing body UCI requires.

"As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose", he said, in a statement quoted by the Guardian.

He has not competed since then, but has announced his intention to try to win the three big tours, in France, Spain and Italy, in 2018.

The failed "drug" test places his Tour de Spain title in jeopardy.

Olympic bronze medallist Froome has become a dominant force in the world of cycling, with four Tour de France general classifications to his name - three consecutively and a double - Tour de France-Vuelta in 2017.

The four-time Tour de France victor is trying to challenge the finding, according to the British paper.

In 2008 Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi was given a 12-month ban and stripped of five stage wins in the 2007 Giro d'Italia despite having a TUE for Salbutamol, having also exceeded the limit.

An investigation by UK Anti-Doping concluded recently, saying it had been unable to prove what was in the package sent to former rider and 2012 Tour de France victor Bradley Wiggins.