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Froome won’t race Milano-Sanremo, backs doping inquiry

Tour de France champion will sit out sprinter-friendly classic in Italy and says he hopes cycling's reform commission helps turn the page on the EPO era

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Sky officials confirmed Tuesday that Chris Froome will not race Milano-Sanremo as originally planned, just as the reigning Tour de France champion said in an interview he backs an inquiry into cycling’s dirty past.

Froome typically steers clear of the one-day classics, but he expressed interest in racing the season’s first major classic when organizers included the Pompeiana climb. He changed his mind after poor road conditions forced organizers to remove the climb last week.

Sky officials confirmed to VeloNews on Tuesday evening that Froome would not race Milan-Sanremo “due to the change of the course,” and instead will race Volta a Catalunya (March 23-29) following Tirreno-Adriatico (March 12-18).

Several teams are juggling their Milano-Sanremo rosters following the announcement that the introduction of the Pompeiana climb would be delayed until 2015. The climb, sandwiched between the Cipressa and Poggio, tilted the race toward climbers and away from sprinters.

Without Pompeiana or the earlier La Maniè climb — which was taken out with the inclusion of Pompeiana, but has not been reintroduced —Sanremo suddenly reverts to a sprinters’ race.

André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) have both changed their schedules, and will now start the season’s longest classic.

Others, however, are not altering their plans. Giant-Shimano officials confirmed to VeloNews that Marcel Kittel will not start, and that John Degenkolb remains the team’s captain for the Italian classic.

Froome, meanwhile, told the Associated Press he supports the UCI-sanctioned inquiry into cycling’s dirty laundry.

“I hope that anyone who does have anything to contribute would get involved.” Froome told AP in an interview on Tuesday.

A three-member panel, called the Cycling Independent Reform Commission, recently opened a yearlong inquiry into cycling’s doping legacy from 1998-2013. The panel will also investigate possible links between Lance Armstrong and former UCI officials who might have helped the now-banned Tour winner avoid doping controls, among other issues.

“I am hoping that at the end of the day people will be able to say of it, ‘Right, that was that era, we can now put that to bed and stop asking questions about it,”‘ Froome said.