LONDON (AFP) — Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) said he has not broken any rules after returning an “adverse” urine test result during his victory at this year’s Vuelta a Espana. The British cyclist was found to have twice the permissible amount of legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during September’s race.
“I understand this comes as a big shock to people,” Froome said in an interview with the BBC published on Wednesday. “I certainly haven’t broken any rules here.”
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s world governing body, has asked Froome to provide more information, but has not suspended him.
Cyclists can take Salbutamol without needing a therapeutic use exemption (TUE), but only up to certain levels. Froome said he simply upped his dosage on the advice of the team doctor after his asthma symptoms got worse.
“I have been a professional cyclist now, treating my symptoms and racing with asthma, for 10 years,” said Froome. “I know what those rules are, I know what those limits are and I have never been over those limits. I have got a very clear routine when I use my inhaler and how many times. I have given all that information to the UCI to help get to the bottom of it.”
Froome became the first British rider to triumph at the Vuelta and only the third cyclist to have completed the Tour-Vuelta double in the same year. With four Tour wins, he is one of the most successful riders in the race’s history.
Asked if he felt Wednesday’s revelations had damaged his standing in the sport, Froome replied: “No.”
He added: “I can understand a lot of people’s reactions, especially given the history of the sport. This is not a positive test. The sport is coming from a very dark background and I have tried to do everything through my career to show that the sport has turned around.”
Listen to our discussion of the Froome case on the VeloNews podcast: