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Bahrain-Merida team manager says most teams would have suspended rider

Brian Cookson has confirmed that he was made aware of Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding on his final day as UCI president.

Froome had twice the permitted limit of the anti-asthma drug Salbutamol when tested at the Vuelta a Espana in September.

While the drug is not banned outright, Froome will have to prove that he kept to the permitted dosage to avoid a ban and being stripped of his victory in that race.

Earlier this month Cookson, who is a former member of Team Sky’s supervisory board, suggested that the team should have its reputation “reinstated” after UK Anti-Doping failed to bring charges relating to the Jiffy bag delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.

He has since confirmed that he did so while aware that Froome was potentially facing a ban.

"I was informed that Chris Froome had provided an A sample with an anomalous result for a substance that did not result in an immediate provisional suspension the last 24 hours of my tenure at UCI,” he said.

"When I left the UCI the following day, the matter passed to the new president and, rightly, I was no longer informed about the matter. I cannot comment further on this or any other ongoing case."

Eurosport reports that he had previously said that Froome's adverse analytical finding was a matter for the independent CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) and the Legal Anti-Doping Service supervised by an external lawyer.

"I had then, and still have today, confidence in the integrity of all those involved, that they would always follow the correct procedures in every case, and that no rider was treated in any way differently from any other."

Bahrain-Merida team manager, Brent Copeland, believes that Froome should not race until the case is resolved, arguing that by allowing him to continue riding, Team Sky are giving the sport a bad image.

Speaking to Cycling News, he said: "I’ve known Chris for years, and I must be very clear that this isn’t against him. I think that Chris can come back stronger than before. I know him and his mindset.

"If you have a code of conduct or an ethics code then you should follow that. September 20 is when they were notified and Chris still presented himself at several events and [Team Sky] were negotiating with RCS about the participation of him at the Giro d’Italia, knowing what they had on their plate, which is difficult for me to understand as a manager.

“Even if he is banned for nine months, eight months, or whatever the case is, he could still ride the Giro d’Italia. But in the meantime, the code of conduct of most teams would dictate that the rider should be suspended.”

Copeland also questioned why Team Sky hadn’t at least been questioned by the UCI’s licence commission before being granted a 2018 World Tour licence.

"The question I ask myself is that this case has been going on since the September 20 when they knew about the excess levels of Salbutamol and they weren’t called in front of the licence commission. Once again, it’s difficult to explain to the man in the pub and it causes confusion. This is what makes me angry about the situation."

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