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Chris Froome admits missing out-of-competition drugs tests

Team Sky rider says 2 tests missed 5 years apart - the latest when hotel staff refused to let testers see him

Chris Froome has admitted missing two out-of-competition drugs tests during his career – the first in 2010, the second earlier this year.

The latest missed test happened when he was on a break in Italy with his wife and hotel staff refused to allow drug testers access to the Team Sky rider when they arrived at 7am, reports

He attributed the earlier one to his own carelessness, after he decided to go for a training ride and was away from home when testers turned during the hour he had fixed for out-of-competition testing.

Meeting the press ahead of the Tour de France, which starts a week on Saturday in Utrecht, Froome was asked his views on Mo Farah, recently revealed to have missed two out-of-competition anti-doping controls in 2010 and 2011. 

Under the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes must notify their whereabouts at a set one-hour period each day via the ADAMS system, to allow out-of-competition tests to be carried out.

Three missed tests in a 12-month period is considered an anti-doping rule violation and can lead to a two-year ban.

Froome said: “I have missed a drugs test, earlier this year actually. I had a couple of recovery days and I took my wife down to quite an exclusive hotel down in Italy.

“And on the first morning we were down there the authorities pitched up at 7am and the hotel staff actually wouldn’t give them access to our room and even refused to let them call up to the room.

“So when we came down at 8.30am they said to us: ‘Oh, the anti-doping guys were here to test you this ­morning but it’s our hotel policy not to let anyone disturb our clients’.

“So that was a hugely frustrating situation for me. I did appeal it and try to explain the circumstances to the authorities but at the end of the day I do take responsibility for that missed test.

“I should have been more proactive in letting the hotel know that this is a possibility that I could be tested. I certainly learnt my lesson there.”

“Obviously I have stayed in hotels all over the world and I have been tested all over the world without any issues at all. Unfortunately I just didn’t see this one coming,” he continued.

“But yeah, it has opened my eyes and I am certainly going to be more proactive in the future. I think it is an athlete’s responsibility to make sure he or she is available for testing.”

As for that earlier missed test in 2010, Froome said: “Again it was careless on my side.”

While most athletes accept that the rules need to be in place, some have criticised the ADAMS system for being too onerous, for example when plans change at the last minute.

But according to the World Anti-Doping Agency, “athletes are ultimately responsible for their whereabouts.

“As a result, they cannot avoid responsibility by blaming their representative or the team for filing inaccurate information about their whereabouts or for not updating their whereabouts if they were not at the location specified by them during the 60-minute time-slot.”

Froome said he believed that missing two tests five years apart was probably not unusual. “I’m quite sure that a lot of guys have missed tests,” he explained. “It is common. But I would say it is unprofessional.”

He is not the first big-name British cyclist to have admitted missing an anti-competition test. In 2012, Mark Cavendish – reigning world champion at the time – confirmed he had missed one the previous year.

In a statement at the time, Cavendish said: “I missed an out-of-competition test last April, it was my mistake.
"I was with a film crew from the BBC and Giro d'Italia on Mount Etna. It was a simple, genuine admin error.

"Of course I totally understand the importance of testing in sport. I was tested by the UCI a couple of weeks before that and twice in the fortnight after and had around 60 tests in all last year.

"It's part of the job. And it's my job to make sure that I don't miss another," he added.

Froome also said he was in favour of night-time testing, identified by the UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) as one way to tackle micro-dosing.

“I would imagine you would probably get a few grumpy people at 2am or 3am, but I would be willing to do it during the Tour de France,” he said.

He is the only current rider who agreed to be identified as having testified to the CIRC when it published its report earlier this year, said it was “disappointing” that so much attention was placed on one anonymous witness’s assertion that 90 per cent of the current peloton is doping – instead, he puts the figure at “Less than five per cent.”

He said: “I would be shocked if more than five per cent of the current peloton was doping. Maybe I am being overly optimistic but I don’t believe that any of my current performances would be possible if people were still doping.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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