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Tour de France director urges swift resolution to Chris Froome case

Christian Prudhomme wants ambiguity over four time champion's status cleared up as soon as possible...

Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has called for an urgent resolution to Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding for the anti-asthma drug, Salbutamol, at this year's Vuelta which the Team Sky rider won.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Froome had twice the permitted dosage of the drug in his urine when tested after Stage 18 of the Spanish race.

Besides facing the prospect of losing his Vuelta title, Froome also risks a suspension and has vowed to clear his name, and it is likely to be several months before the case is resolved one way or the other.

"We hope that the case is cleared up, that we emerge from the darkness and ambiguity," Prudhomme told France Info.

He urged that any investigation should "not last months and months and that there is a response as early as possible in the season from the UCI."

He acknowledged that Salbutomol is not in itself a banned substance. "It's the dose that matters here, and because of that there will be this battle between experts."

The Frenchman also warned that there was a risk of a return to cycling being seen as "shorthand" for doping.

The 32-year-old Froome is just the third rider in history to win the Tour de France and Vuelta - and the first since the latter race moved from the spring to its current late-season spot.

He has said he plans to ride next year's Giro d'Italia with the aim of winning a third successive Grand Tour.

That presents a problem for race organisers, however, who will be mindful of what happened in 2011 when Alberto Contador won the Giro d'Italia while the case relating to his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France was still ongoing.

The Spaniard, who also competed in the 2011 Tour de France, finishing fifth, was stripped of that result plus his 2010 victory in the race and his 2011 Giro title after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against him.

Mindful of the damage a repeat of that situation could do to the sport and the races themselves, Prudhomme said: "We must emerge from the ambiguity. so it's necessary  to have a response and once again that it clearly arrives as soon as possible, and before the Giro d'Italia.

"Certainly, the organisers of the Giro d'Italia are waiting on this more than we are," he added.

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.

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