Chris Froome Fails Drug Test, Fights To Save Reputation
Chris Froome, Britain’s most famous cyclist, has failed a drug test.
Chris Froome Doping Scandal News
The 32-year-old Kenyan-born sensation — who won his third consecutive Tour de France in July — was discovered to have exceeded the allowed levels of asthma drug salbutamol on a test taken Sept. 7.
Froome’s scandal comes after his victory in the Vuelta in Spain in September. Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, riders are permitted a level of 1,000 nanograms per millilitre. Froome, who rides with Team Sky, was found to have twice that in a urine sample.
If the test result is upheld, Froome could forfeit his Vuelta title and may also be banned from upcoming major competitions like next year’s Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, the latter of which he has won four times in total (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).
In 2007 the Italian cyclist Alessandro Petacchi was given a 12-month ban for excessive salbutamol and stripped of his five stage victories in the Giro d’Italia.
“It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are,” said Froome. “I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms (always within the permissible limits) and I know for sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader’s jersey. My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose.
“I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously. The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires.”
Froome also tweeted the following on Wednesday:
Thank you for all the messages of support this morning. I am confident that we will get to the bottom of this. Unfortunately I can’t share any more information than I already have until the enquiry is complete.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) December 13, 2017
After several sources had told European press about Froome’s adverse analytical finding, David Lappartient, the president of cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, confirmed his organization was aware of the failed test.
In a statement, team Sky said Froome received the notification of the UCI’s finding on Sept. 20, prior to the individual time trial event at the world championships.
The UCI said in a statement that Froome is not facing a mandatory provisional suspension.
“Pursuant to article 7.9.1. of the UCI anti-doping rules, the presence of a specified substance such as salbutamol in a sample does not result in the imposition of such mandatory provisional suspension against the rider,” the statement read.
One drug expert, however, has claimed Froome could not have gained an unfair advantage by taking higher levels of salbutamol.
Dr Brian Lipworth, of the Scottish Centre for Respiratory Research, said taking higher doses of the asthma drug can actually impair an athlete’s performance because it can cause muscle weakness, increase their heart rate and reduce potassium in their blood.
“Salbutamol of that level means his asthma is being poorly controlled, Lipworth told Sky News. “The fact that he won with those levels is utterly remarkable.”
Lipworth added the substance is merely used to treat asthma.
MONTPELLIER, FRANCE – JULY 14: Christopher Froome of Great Britain riding for Team Sky in the yellow leader’s jersey crosses the finish line after stage twelve, a 178km stage from Monpellier to Chalet-Reynard near the Mont Ventoux on July 14, 2016 in Montpellier, France. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)