In Brief

2018 Tour de France: Chris Froome ‘relieved’ to be cleared of doping by the UCI

Four-time winner is now set to compete in the 105th Tour de France

Chris Froome has been cleared to ride in the Tour de France after cycling’s world governing body dropped anti-doping proceedings against the Team Sky rider.

Last September the British star, 33, was found to have had twice the permitted level of the asthma drug salbutamol in his system, but Froome and his team denied any wrongdoing. A sample collected during the Vuelta a España on 7 September was “reported to contain a concentration of salbutamol in excess of 1000ng/ml”.

In a statement issued this morning, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has confirmed that the case against Froome has now been closed.

The statement read: “Whilst the UCI would have obviously preferred the proceedings to have been finalised earlier in the season, it had to ensure that Mr Froome had a fair process, as it would have done with any other rider, and that the correct decision was issued. Having received [the] World Anti-Doping Agency’s [Wada] position on 28 June 2018, the UCI prepared and issued its formal reasoned decision as quickly as possible in the circumstances.

“The UCI understands that there will be significant discussion of this decision, but wishes to reassure all those involved in or interested in cycling that its decision is based on expert opinions, Wada’s advice, and a full assessment of the facts of the case.

“The UCI hopes that the cycling world can now turn its focus to, and enjoy, the upcoming races on the cycling calendar.”

In response to the news Froome tweeted: “Grateful and relieved to finally put this chapter behind me, it has been an emotional 9 months. Thank you to all of those who have supported and believed in me throughout.”

‘I would never dishonour a winner’s jersey’

Team Sky have also welcomed the UCI’s decision to clear its rider. In his official statement Froome said: “I am very pleased that the UCI has exonerated me. While this decision is obviously a big deal for me and the team, it’s also an important moment for cycling.

“I understand the history of this great sport - good and bad. I have always taken my leadership position very seriously and I always do things the right way. I meant it when I said that I would never dishonour a winner’s jersey and that my results would stand the test of time.

“I have never doubted that this case would be dismissed for the simple reason that I have known throughout I did nothing wrong. I have suffered with asthma since childhood. I know exactly what the rules are regarding my asthma medication and I only ever use my puffer to manage my symptoms within the permissible limits.

“Of course, the UCI had to examine these test results from the Vuelta. Unfortunately, the details of the case did not remain confidential, as they should have done. And I appreciate more than anyone else the frustration at how long the case has taken to resolve and the uncertainty this has caused. I am glad it’s finally over.

“I am grateful for all the support I have had from the Team and from many fans across the world. Today’s ruling draws a line. It means we can all move on and focus on the Tour de France.”

Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: “We have always had total confidence in Chris and his integrity. We knew that he had followed the right medical guidance in managing his asthma at the Vuelta and were sure that he would be exonerated in the end, which he has been.

“This is why we decided that it was right for Chris to continue racing, in line with UCI rules, while the process was ongoing. We are pleased that it has now been resolved.”

The 105th Tour de France starts on Saturday 7 July. It is made up of 21 stages and will cover 3,351 kilometres.

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