UCI President David Lappartient has admitted that the complex nature of Chris Froome’s salbutamol case means a verdict is unlikely to be reached before the Giro d’Italia starts, meaning the Team Sky leader will almost certainly be in Israel for the start on May 4.
Froome returned a positive test for salbutamol en route to victory at last year’s Vuelta a España, but as salbutamol is considered a specified substance, the Team Sky rider remains free to race pending the resolution of the case. Froome has always denied any wrongdoing, saying he respected medical guidelines for the use of his salbutamol asthma inhaler. He began his season at the Ruta del Sol and recently rode Tirreno-Adriatico, determined to push on with his plans to target the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2018.
Lappartient has previously pressured Team Sky to suspend Froome from racing. He acknowledges that Froome has a right to race under UCI rules but suggested that his presence at the Tour de France before a final verdict “would be a disaster for the image of cycling”.
The Frenchman attended Saturday’s Milan-San Remo and admitted to La Gazzetta dello Sport that the complexity of the case could mean it will not be resolved in time for the start of the Giro d’Italia.
“When will it end? I don’t know to be honest. I hope as soon as possible. I said I hope before the Giro d’Italia but I don’t think so and I’m not sure that this is possible,” La Gazzetta dello Sport quote Lappartient as saying.
“We’re pushing for as soon as possible. And that’d be the best thing for the rider, the team, race organisers and the UCI. But it involves technical issues. It’s not simple and needs time.”
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