The UCI is reportedly considering giving four-time Tour de France champion a provisional ban following his adverse analytical finding at last year’s Vuelta for twice the permitted level of the anti-asthma drug, salbutamol.
The news comes after Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni urged this week that the UCI should guarantee that should the 32-year-old be permitted to start the race, the result will be allowed to stand irrespective of any subsequent sanction he may receive.
Vegni told the Italian news agency, ANSA, that Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport wanted to avoid a repeat of Alberto Contador being disqualified as winner of the 2011 race when, the following year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport gave him a mainly backdated two-year ban as a result of his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
According to the Press Association, the UCI may impose a provisional suspension on Froome, who is gathering evidence in an attempt to provide an explanation as to why his readings for the anti-asthma drug, should the case continue to drag on with no resolution in sight.
Several leading riders as well as UCI president David Lappartient have called on the Team Sky rider to suspend himself while the case is ongoing.
World cycling’s governing body has never imposed a provisional suspension in the past in a case involving salbutamol, nor any other specified substance that is permitted to be used up to a certain threshold.
As things stand at the moment, Froome is the subject of an adverse analytical finding rather than an anti-doping rule violation, which would have triggered an automatic provisional suspension.
However, UCI anti-doping rules do permit the UCI to provisionally suspend a rider who is the subject of an adverse analytical finding, and the Press Association reports that the governing body is continuing to monitor the case.
Earlier this week, Italian newspaper il Corriere della Sera suggested that Froome had decided to agree to a ban of between five and six months and being stripped of his Vuelta title, a claim firmly denied by the Team Sky rider.
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.