Froome laments 'horrible situation'

LONDON • Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome admitted his adverse drugs test at the Vuelta a Espana put him in "a horrible situation" but the Briton denied wrongdoing again.

The 32-year-old was not present at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award ceremony in Liverpool on Sunday, but he spoke to interviewer Clare Balding via a video link from Team Sky's training base in Mallorca.

When she raised the subject of his failed drug test, he looked noticeably uncomfortable but said: "I do completely get it (high-profile doping cases in cycling's recent history). I've been a bike rider for 10 years now and I know how some people might look at our sport.

"I am an asthmatic, I have been since I was a child, and I use a puffer to help manage it but I have never taken more than I am allowed, so it is quite a horrible situation."

On Wednesday, the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed that Froome was found to have double the allowed amount of the legal drug Salbutamol in his system in a test after stage 18 of the Vuelta, which he won, on Sept 7.

If Froome fails to provide a satisfactory explanation, the UCI could proceed with an anti-doping rule violation case - he could even be stripped of his Vuelta victory and miss a large chunk of next season.

If the interview was awkward, the video in support of Froome that was shown to the 10,000-strong crowd at Echo Arena might also have made for some uncomfortable viewing.

The video, recorded before Wednesday's news, was effusive in its praise of Froome.

"King of the counter-attack, master of the mountains, unflappable, untouchable, unbeatable," viewers heard as pictures showed Froome grinding up a gruelling ascent.

"How about history? How about back-to-back victories? The greatest of a generation. No ego here, no celebrity... history man, family man, stomach churning, pedals keep turning."

Froome failed to make the top three as the award was won by distance runner Mo Farah with 83,524 votes.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2017, with the headline 'Froome laments 'horrible situation''. Print Edition | Subscribe