Chris Froome insists he has not “broken any rules” in response to yesterday’s revelation that he had twice the permitted limit of the anti-asthma drug Salbutamol when tested at the Vuelta in September.
The Team Sky rider won the race, becoming just the third rider to have won the Spanish Grand Tour and the Tour de France in the same year, and the first since the Vuelta moved to its current late-season slot.
Speaking to the BBC, Froome said: "I understand this comes as a big shock to people. I certainly haven't broken any rules here."
Yesterday, the Guardian and French newspaper Le Monde revealed that the 32-year-old had returned an adverse analytical finding after he was tested on Stage 18 of the Vuelta.
Statements from Team Sky and the UCI following publication of the newspapers’ articles confirmed the result of the test, taken on 7 September.
Froome’s A and B samples both showed that he had 2,000 nanograms per millilitre of Salbutamol in his urine, double the level permitted under World Anti-Doping Agency rules.
The drug is not banned outright, but with the test returning a result beyond the levels that are allowed, Froome now has to prove somehow that he kept to permitted dosage and explain why the reading was so high.
Should he fail to satisfy the authorities, it is likely that he will be stripped of his Vuelta title and receive a ban.
Froome told the BBC: "I can understand a lot of people's reactions, especially given the history of the sport. This is not a positive test.
"The sport is coming from a very dark background and I have tried to do everything through my career to show that the sport has turned around."
He continued: "I have been a professional cyclist now, treating my symptoms and racing with asthma, for 10 years.
"I know what those rules are, I know what those limits are and I have never been over those limits.
"I have got a very clear routine when I use my inhaler and how many times. I have given all that information to the UCI to help get to the bottom of it."
In a statement released by Team Sky yesterday, Froome said that his dosage of the drug, which he takes via an inhaler, was increased on the advice of a team doctor in the days before the test that gave rise to his adverse analytical finding.
He told the BBC that during the race, he said to journalists that he was in a good condition because he didn’t want his rivals to know he was struggling,
"I am racing against guys who are looking for any kind of weakness," he said.
"I am not going to admit through a Grand Tour that 'yes. I am suffering with something', because the next day my rivals will come out absolutely swinging."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.