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ASO denies report that it would exclude Froome from Tour

Spencer Powlison /
Chris Froome showed higher-than-allowed amounts of Salbutamol in a drug test during the Vuelta. Photo: ©Tim De Waele | Getty Images (File).

Tour de France organizer ASO denied reports by an Australian website that it would exclude Chris Froome from the Tour. On Friday, an ASO representative told VeloNews that the report was based on “wrong information.”

The report first surfaced Thursday morning in Australia with website news.com.au reporting that two sources had confirmed ASO would stop the four-time defending champion from racing the Tour if his Salbutamol case was unresolved.

However, ASO officials made it clear on Friday that the report was untrue, or at the very least, the leak was unauthorized.

“The Press Association ‘news’ is not based on any official ASO statement, press release or interview, so it is a wrong information,” said an ASO media representative in an email.

“The only thing we keep saying is that we hope for a fast outcome of this and the recent statement of the UCI president goes in the same way.”

Froome’s case is currently in limbo, and little is known about the current status of the case.

His case is expected to go before an anti-doping tribunal very soon — and that’s possibly happened already. There, Froome would have an opportunity to explain the adverse analytical finding from stage 18 of the Vuelta.

If he fails to do so effectively, he could face a sanction from the UCI. In the meantime, Froome has continued racing.

“No one wants this result faster than I do,” he said at Ruta del Sol in February, defending his decision to race while the case is still in process. “There is a lot of misinformation out there and a lot opinions from people who don’t quite fully understand everything. I think when all the facts come out, people will see it from my point of view.”

He and Team Sky have consistently denied any wrongdoing. However, many in the peloton and even UCI president David Lappartient have criticized his choice to race in the early months of 2018.

At this point, Froome is slated to race the Tour of the Alps in mid-April. He also plans to race the Giro d’Italia, and according to Lappartient, the Salbutamol case may be unresolved by the time the season’s first grand tour begins in Israel May 4.

“The case is much more complicated than a normal one,” Lappartient told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Will the case end before the Giro? I don’t know.”

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