Tony Martin: Froome case a ‘scandal’ and ‘double standard’

The German accused the UCI of treating Chris Froome differently in the wake of Froome's abnormal drug test result at the Vuelta.

The UCI’s handing of Chris Froome’s abnormal drug test result that dates back to the Vuelta a Espana is a “scandal” and demonstrates a “double standard,” four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin said Thursday.

Martin wrote a lengthy statement on his Facebook page the day after it was made public that Froome had double the allowed amount of an asthma medication in his system during the Vuelta in September, a race he won. Froome has also won the Tour de France four times.

“I’m totally angry. In the case of Chris Froome, a double standard is definitely measured,” Martin wrote in German. “Other athletes are immediately suspended after a positive sample. He and his team were given, by the UCI, time to explain themselves. I do not know any such case in the recent past. This is a scandal, especially since he should not have been able to compete in the world championships.”

Martin went on to say that he fears a backroom deal will be brokered between Froome, his Sky team, and the UCI to exonerate him from wrongdoing.

“Do he and his team enjoy a special status?” Martin wrote.

“Our credibility and our great sport is at stake. We need a consistent and transparent approach from the UCI. What’s going on here is inconsistent, unprofessional, and unfair.”

Froome himself spoke out and said his allergies worsened late in the Vuelta, so he took puffs from his inhaler that contained the drug Salbutamol. The UCI allows 1,000 ng/ml of the substance to be in a rider’s system, but Froome had twice that amount.

“This is damaging. It’s come as a huge shock to me as well,” Froome said Thursday. “At the same time, I know within me that fundamentally I have followed the protocol, I have not overstepped any boundaries, and I hope by the end of this process that will be clear to everyone and I’ll be exonerated of any wrongdoing.”

The UCI has asked Froome and Sky to provide more information before it rules on the matter. Froome was not provisionally suspended.

Listen to our discussion of the Froome case on the VeloNews podcast: