Viernes, 15 Febrero, 2019

Froome to race in Spain despite calls to withdraw

British cyclist Chris Froome of Sky Team smiles at journalists before a training session in Port de Alcudia on the Spanish island of Mallorca Froome won his fourth Tour de France title in July before winning the Vuelta a Espana in September
Montrelle Montesinos | 15 Febrero, 2018, 18:36

International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient said last month that Team Sky should voluntarily suspend Froome until the investigation is complete.

Salbutamol is not a banned substance, but Froome will be subject to a sanction if no legitimate physiological explanation for the finding is provided.

The first stage of the Ruta del Sol contains repeated, lung-busting climbs over almost 200km heading inland from the Costa del Sol but the biggest examination of Froome occurred earlier, outside the Team Sky bus. "We're going as fast as we can on it and hopefully get it resolved as soon as possible". Froome wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "There is a process there which allows me to demonstrate no wrongdoing, and that's what I intend to do". There had been suggestions this adverse test would escalate the abuse but a shout of "stay safe, Chris" from a crowd of well-wishers as he made his way to warm up set the tone for the day.

Brailsford declined to comment on whether Froome or Team Sky were footing the legal bill but was bullish in his support of the team's star rider.

He finished safely in the main bunch on the opening stage between Mijas and Granada, a stage won by France's Thomas Boudat in a sprint finish. "I completely get why there has been so much interest and speculation", Froome said in a statement on Team Sky's website last week.

Team principal Dave Brailsford said: "We all recognize that these are difficult circumstances but it's important for all sides that this process is conducted fairly before a final conclusion is reached".

Chris Froome's return to the pro peloton didn't ruffle any feathers Wednesday at Ruta del Sol, according to the four-time Tour de France champion. Lappartient ousted Brian Cookson from the sport's top job on the basis of a five-point plan which included "effective UCI leadership" and "ensuring the credibility of sporting results".

"This is a process a lot of other riders have gone through and I don't see why I should have different treatment to them", he told them.

However, Froome confirmed his plans to ride the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France remain even if the case is unsolved by the start of the Giro in May.