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Updated: ASO exclude Chris Froome from the Tour de France - Team Sky "confident" of winning appeal

French national Olympic committee to hold arbitration hearing on Tuesday, decision expected on Wednesday

Tour de France organisers have excluded four-time winner and defending champion Chris Froome from this year's Tour de France, according to a report in the French newspaper Le Monde.

Team Sky will reportedly appeal to the French national Olympic Committee (CNOSF), with a hearing set for 9AM on Tuesday and a decision expected on Wednesday.

Froome returned an adverse analytical finding for twice the permitted level of the anti-asthma drug salbutamol during last September's Vuelta, which he won.

He has continued racing while the case is ongoing, which he is permitted to do since salbutamol is a specified substance rather than one that is banned outright.

Last month, he won the Giro d'Italia, making him just the third man ever to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time.

Under article 28.1 of the regulations of the Tour de France, and in compliance with UCI rules, ASO “expressly reserves the right to refuse the participation in – or disqualify from – the event, a team or one of its members whose presence is liable to damage the image or reputation of ASO or those of the event.”

Froome insists that he has done nothing wrong and is confident he will be able to provide a satisfactory explanation for the elevated levels of salbutamol at the Vuelta.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Team Sky said: “We are confident that Chris will be riding the Tour as we know he has done nothing wrong.”

The last time ASO took such action was in 2009, when it sought to exclude Tom Boonen from the Tour de France after the former world champion’s third out-of-competition positive test for cocaine.

While that did not constitute and anti-doping rule violation, ASO believed that the Belgian’s participation could damage the reputation of the race.

However, the day before the Tour de France was due to start in Monaco, a court in Paris ruled that Boonen could take part in the race.

That precedent is likely to be seized upon by Froome and Team Sky’s lawyers, who would also be likely to highlight how Alberto Contador was allowed to ride the 2011 Tour de France, where he was defending the title he won the previous year.

At the time,  an appeal by the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the Spanish national cycling federation’s decision to exonerate him in connection with his positive test for clenbuterol was still outstanding.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) eventually handed Contador, who finished fifth overall at the 2011 Tour de France a mainly retrospective ban and stripped him of his victory in the previous year’s edition of the race and his 2011 Giro d’Italia title.

 

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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