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LeMond, 56, is skeptical of any defense that argues Froome simply took a few too many puffs of his inhaler.
“Give me a break,” the American told The Times. “That is the most ridiculous excuse I have ever heard. If this is what he claims, then it’s simple, he broke the rules and should be punished accordingly.”
On December 13, 2017, it was announced that Froome had returned an adverse analytical finding in an anti-doping test performed after stage 18 of the Vuelta. The Brit went on to win that race, an unprecedented double victory when combined with his Tour de France win in July.
The four-time Tour winner’s urine sample showed 2,000 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of Salbutamol after that Vuelta stage. Salbutamol is a bronchial treatment for asthma that does not require an individual TUE (therapeutic use exemption) for every usage but is limited to 1,000 ng/ml.
Now, Froome and Team Sky will endeavor to clear his name with a pharmacokinetic study. This is a controlled study in a lab that gives Froome a chance to prove that the abnormal test result was the consequence of the use of a therapeutic dose of inhaled salbutamol.
Froome has maintained his innocence throughout the affair.
LeMond also cast aspersions on the British team’s ethical standards. He said he doesn’t believe Sky general manager Dave Brailsford. LeMond also blasted the team’s use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) as “bogus.”
Throughout the early 2000s, LeMond was a high-profile gadfly to Lance Armstrong and his Postal team. Likely in reference to that time, LeMond also told The Times: “As history has shown, when things are too good to be true, they usually are.”