Chris Froome has denied as “completely untrue” a report in an Italian newspaper that he has done a deal over his adverse analytical finding for the anti-asthma drug salbutamol at last year’s Vuelta and has accepted a ban lasting between five and six months.
The 32-year-old, who won the Spanish Grand Tour after clinching his fourth Tour de France title last July, was discovered to have twice the permitted level of the drug in his urine following an anti-doping control after Stage 18 of the race.
Today, Milan-based newspaper the Corriere della Sera reported that the Team Sky rider would admit negligence on his part, apparently on the advice of his wife and manager, Michelle Froome
However, he took to Twitter to deny the newspaper’s claim, describing it as “completely untrue.”
I have seen the report in Corriere della Serra this morning - it’s completely untrue.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) January 30, 2018
The Corriere della Sera put forward several reasons why Froome, who has vowed to provide an explanation to the authorities of how his urine came to have twice the legal concentration of salbutamol with a reading of 2,000 mg/ml, might be tempted to accept fault through a mediation process.
Those include the difficulty in persuading the UCI Anti-Doping Panel to accept whatever explanation he provides, reportedly including the argument that he was the victim of a kidney disfunction.
Moreover, the newspaper says that should he submit himself to laboratory tests in an effort to clear his name but the results fail to convince the authorities, he could face a ban of between 12 and 24 months.
For those reasons, the Corriere della Sera suggests that he would be prepared to forfeit his Vuelta title as well as the bronze medal he won in the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway last September.
A suspension of up to six months, which would most likely be backdated to the date of the adverse analytical finding, 7 September 2017, would mean he was eligible to return to racing at latest around two months before the start of the Giro d’Italia in Jerusalem on 4 May.
However, the newspaper adds that a ban of that length would seem a light sanction, given that Italian rider Diego Ulissi, who in 2015 was banned for nine months after admitting negligence for having an excessive level of salbutamol in his urine – albeit a lower amount than Froome.
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.