Froome's drug case 'to be settled before Tour'

LONDON • 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 Liege-Bastogne-Liege Classic race, 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.

"I have absolute confidence in the UCI (International Cycling Union) to do that."

Sources in Italy, however, have indicated the Giro d'Italia organisers do not feel it is likely that a ruling will be made on the Froome case before the May 4-27 race.

The first three stages of this year's competition will take place in Israel next month, marking the first time the event has started outside Europe.

Froome's adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug occurred during the Vuelta a Espana last year.

The four-time Tour winner is set to start this year's Giro in Jerusalem 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.

The Briton is still aiming to land a "Grand Slam" of back-to-back major Tour wins and the 32-year-old remains convinced of his innocence in the salbutamol affair.

Prudhomme preferred not to give a direct response when asked if he felt that a situation might arise in which, if the Froome case remained without a resolution before July, that Tour organisers ASO might feel they should exclude Froome.

Tour rules permit the organisers to deny entry to a rider or a team whose presence is judged potentially detrimental to the image of the event.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2018, with the headline 'Froome's drug case 'to be settled before Tour''. Print Edition | Subscribe