FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Chris Froome will be at the 2018 Tour de France and insists he has a right to be there despite a fresh round of criticism from French cycling legend Bernard Hinault.
Team Sky’s star will line up in Vendée July 7 to race for a fifth Tour de France title on the heels of winning the Giro d’Italia.
However, he is dealing with a legal case stemming from the 2017 Vuelta a España. He tested over the limit for asthma drug salbutamol after stage 18, shortly before he went on to win the overall title. [related title=”More Tour de France news” align=”left” tag=”Tour-de-France”]
“Definitely,” Froome told Sky Sports when asked if he would start the Tour de France. “I have done nothing wrong here. I have every right to be racing.
“Through this process, I am allowed to demonstrate that I have done nothing wrong and I am fully expecting to be exonerated by the end of this process.”
The process drags on, however. Froome is presenting his defense and the UCI is readying to handle one of cycling’s biggest cases in recent times.
In the meantime, Froome is allowed to race because salbutamol is a specified substance, one of the drugs athletes can use up to a certain amount.
UCI president David Lappartient wants Froome to sit on the sidelines as his case plays out, but has acknowledged that Froome has the right to race and the legal process will take time.
Others have complained about the rule that allows cyclists to compete when there’s an open anti-doping case against them.
Retired French cyclist and five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault recently said riders should strike over Froome’s participation in the Tour. He continued in the same vain overnight, just one week before the Tour starts in France’s northwest.
“I do not think he has a place today, he’s positive,” Hinault told AFP. “Why was Alberto Contador convicted for the same reasons, and why is [Froome] not condemned?”
Contador eventually served a ban for the clenbuterol found in his system during a doping control at the 2010 Tour de France. Clenbuterol is not allowed at any limit.
Known as “The Badger,” Hinault also pointed out Team Sky’s controversy with 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. In 2016, hackers revealed Wiggins applied for a TUE and used a powerful corticosteroid before his big events.
“You have to ask questions because this is the second issue they have. Was there not a problem with Wiggins once?” Hinault continued.
“They have a lot of money to defend it, but is it a good image for cycling? In amateur races today they all have Ventolin [salbutamol puffs] while they are not sick.”
Team Sky responded to Hinault last week, saying “his comments are irresponsible and ill-informed.”