Bernard Hinault says Chris Froome is not a cycling great

Froome became just the third man in history to win three consecutive grand tour titles

Team Sky’s Chris Froome does not belong among cycling’s greats according to Bernard Hinault. Photo: Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA

Team Sky’s Chris Froome does not belong among cycling’s greats according to Bernard Hinault. Photo: Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA

 

The legendary cyclist Bernard Hinault has launched a stinging attack on Chris Froome, claiming he should never have been on the Giro d’Italia start line given his ongoing anti-doping battle.

Froome joined Hinault and Eddy Mercx becoming only the third man in history to win three consecutive grand tour titles. The 32-year-old won the Giro d’Italia by executing an extraordinary comeback to sit alongside his Tour de France and Vuelta a España victories from last year. But Hinault, 63, claims Froome’s name should not be uttered alongside his.

“Froome does not belong on that list,” the Frenchman said, according to the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. “He should never have been allowed to start in the Giro. Why do we have to wait so long for a verdict? With what right does Froome get so much time to find an explanation? Is it because Sky has so much money?”

Froome is now looking increasingly likely to bid for his fourth Tour de France title in July. David Lappartient, president of the UCI, said the chances of Froome’s case being resolved before the Tour had reduced from about 50 per cent a week ago to possibly less than 50 per cent now.

According to the French newspaper L’Équipe, Lappartient said: “The probability of having the [anti-doping] decision before the start of the Tour de France is 50 per cent or less.

“It’s a very complex case, with a lot of lawyers, a lot of documents, a lot of money. We will make our decision as soon as possible, but we have no time. Everything is more complicated than usual in this case.”

Froome and his legal team have been battling to rescue his reputation for several months since the Guardian and the French newspaper Le Monde revealed he had failed a drug test in September during the Vuelta a España. A urine test indicated he had double the permitted level of the asthma drug salbutamol in his system. It is understood that Froome’s defence will centre on challenging the efficacy of the test into question.

“This is all very sad,” Hinault said. “Froome is not part of the legend of the sport, because what image does he give cycling? He may also start the Tour later. It’s a real scandal. This has to stop.” – Guardian service

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