Ag2r manager Lavenu says UCI should sanction Froome

Vincent Lavenu told VeloNews he believes the Sky rider's salbutamol case should result in a sanction by cycling's governing body.

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ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — Longtime French team manager Vincent Lavenu said “no one would understand” if Chris Froome escapes his Salbutamol case without a sanction.

“No one would understand it, neither the journalists, nor the public or the other riders, if there is not a sanction,” Lavenu told VeloNews. “It’s true that there were sanctions for similar affairs in the past, so there should be a sanction.”

Lavenu, who’s run the Ag2r La Mondiale outfit since the 1990s, called the Froome case a “delicate affair,” and accepted the inevitability of lawyers, hearings, and tribunals in the high-profile case.

“What will the sanction be? I don’t know,” he said. “I have confidence in the authorities of the UCI. There are the rules within the UCI and the WADA code, and the lawyers will be involved. There have been sanctions before in similar cases.”

Lavenu echoed an underlying frustration with the Froome case that permeates much of the peloton. He said that the case reflects negatively on the sport.

“When the leader of world cycling has an affair like this, it is all of cycling that is impacted,” Lavenu said. “It is a shame that this is where we are, because it does not help the image of cycling.”

Lavenu also pointed out inconsistencies between the UCI rules and those associated with the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible), a group that Lavenu’s Ag2r squad is a founding member. The MPCC urged Team Sky to sideline Froome as his case is adjudicated.

MPCC rules would require Froome to be sidelined following an adverse analytical finding, but Team Sky is not a member of the group. Instead, UCI rules allow Froome to compete during the review process, and he continues to train.

“What I am sure of is that for MPCC members, this would not happen,” he said. “When a rider has problems, we stop the rider. The first positive test — sffft — they are out. Voila! That is the reality. That is better for the image of cycling.”