UCI president David Lappartient said it’s likely Chris Froome’s Salbutamol case will not be resolved before the start of the Giro d’Italia.
“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.”
Lappartient confirmed that the case is now before the UCI’s legal department (LADS) and that the one-person panel has been appointed. That means lawyers and experts on both sides are preparing their case.
“We are pushing for it as soon as possible and this would be the best thing for the rider, the team, the organizers, the UCI. But the case also concerns technical aspects,” Lappartient said. “It’s not that simple and it takes time. I can understand that the fans want to have a result, but we have specific procedures to the UCI, and we must follow them for the credibility of our sport.”
Lappartient’s comments come as Froome nears his planned start at the Giro d’Italia. Froome has maintained his innocence, and debuted his season with the Ruta del Sol and Tirreno-Adriatico.
Lappartient has joined others in calling for Froome to stand down until his case is concluded, but so far, Team Sky and Froome are insisting that he will continue to race. VeloNews confirmed that Froome will race at the Tour of the Alps next month before the Giro starts May 4 in Israel.
Giro boss Mauro Vegni has asked the UCI to “guarantee” that Froome’s results will stand in the case that he races and wins the Giro. Vegni does not want to see a repeat of the scenario in 2011, when Alberto Contador won the Giro before later having the result erased after he was banned as part of his Clenbuterol case.
In the Gazzetta interview, Lappartient also signaled that the UCI legal department is being meticulous in its preparation for the case in order to avoid a possible future appeal to any decision. He said that is one reason why the progress in the case is not as fast as many hope.
“Before moving on to the next step, you have to make sure you answered all the questions,” he said. “No risk of going ahead without small detail sorted. And so the LADS put some questions to the anti-doping court, to be sure that they followed the correct procedures.”