Chris Froome could lose Vuelta a Espana title after adverse anti-doping finding

Team Sky man found to have twice the permitted limit of Salbutamol following in-competition urine test

Chris Froome could lose his historic Vuelta a Espana 2017 triumph and be hit with a lengthy ban after returning an adverse analytical finding for the legal asthma drug Salbutamol during the race.

Though Salbutamol is permitted to an extent without the need for a therapeutic use exemption, Froome’s in-competition test following stage 18 of the race returned a reading twice the allowed limit of 1,000ng/ml.

Froome – as race leader – was required to give a sample after every stage, and no other test required further analysis, and Team Sky insist his inhaler use was within the prescribed limits. Due to the findings, however, the UCI has requested further information – with Team Sky insisting they have the documentation to prove no rules were broken.

Froome is also not currently suspended, but could lose his Vuelta a Espana title and face a suspension which would derail his planned Giro-Tour double bid in 2017.

Chris Froome returned an adverse analytical finding during an in-competition anti-doping test (Pic: Sirotti)

In a statement issued by Team Sky, Froome said: “It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are. I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms (always within the permissible limits) and I know for sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader’s jersey.

“My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose.

“I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously. The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires.”

Offering further explanation for the adverse analytical finding (AAF), team principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: “There are complex medical and physiological issues which affect the metabolism and excretion of Salbutamol.

“We’re committed to establishing the facts and understanding exactly what happened on this occasion.

“I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol. Of course, we will do whatever we can to help address these questions.”

Froome insists that though he increased his asthma medication during the stage in question, it was done within the legal limits (Pic: Sirotti)

The UCI confirmed the AAF in a short statement on their website, in which they added:

“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.

“The presence of a Specified Substance such as Salbutamol in a sample does not result in the imposition of such mandatory provisional suspension against the rider.”

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