Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Race organiser Christian Prudhomme confident of UCI ruling
Chris Froome: the Team Sky leader has continued to train and race, finishing fourth last week in the Tour of the Alps. Photograph: Photograph: Javier Lizon/EPA
Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France organiser, has said he is confident that Chris Froome’s salbutamol case will be resolved one way or another before this year’s race.
Speaking before the start of the Liége-Bastogne-Liége Classic, Prudhomme said: “I have said since December that we need a rapid solution. The statements of the president of the UCI indicate that there will certainly be an answer before the Tour de France.
“I have absolute confidence in the UCI to do that. The president of the UCI has said there certainly won’t be one before the Giro [D’Italia], but there certainly will be one before the Tour de France. We must have that answer.”
Meanwhile, sources in Italy have indicated the Giro organisers do not feel it is likely that a ruling will be made on the Froome case while the race is actually in progress.
The four-times Tour de France winner is set to start this year’s Giro – which begins in Jerusalem on May 4th – with a possible ban hanging over him, in the event that the UCI’s independent anti-doping tribunal does not rule in his favour.
The Team Sky leader has continued to train and race, finishing fourth last week in the Tour of the Alps, his final build-up event before the Giro, which he is starting for the first time since his run of Tour de France victories began, in the hope that he can land a “Grand Slam” of back to back major Tour wins. He remains convinced of his innocence in the salbutamol affair, maintaining he is certain the final verdict will go his way.
Prudhomme preferred not to give a direct response when asked straight up if he felt that a situation might arise in which, if the Froome case remained without a resolution before July, the organisers ASO might feel they should exclude Froome from the Tour under the rule that permits the organisers to deny entry to a rider or team whose presence is judged potentially detrimental to the image of the event.
Instead, he repeated his call for a rapid resolution: “We need an answer. And we are hopeful of having an answer before the start of the Tour. I’m not just in charge of the Tour, I’m president of the association of race organisers, and the organisers across the board need an answer, and as quickly as people, because the current situation doesn’t suit anyone.”