Brittish cyclist, Chris Froome, will ride in the 2018 Tour de France beginning on July 7th as the doping case against him has been dropped by the UCI.
The shock announcement from the UCI came less than a week out from the start of the biggest event on the cycling calendar, and only a day after Tour de France organisers announced they would follow through on a long-held threat to block the champion cyclist from competing, if his doping case wasn’t resolved before the race start.
Seven months ago, it became public knowledge that four-time Tour de France winner, Chris Froome, had returned a drug test with high levels of salbutamol – an asthma medication. The test was actually done four months prior to that, following stage 18 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana last September, a race which he won.
Under UCI rules, Froome has been allowed to race on despite the ongoing investigation. He has since won the 2018 Giro d’Italia, which was bathed in controversy as it was unclear whether Froome would keep the win had he gone on to receive a ban.
Following the UCI’s decision to drop the case against Froome, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told the AFP that the Tour organisers, the ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) will allow Froome to ride.
“We were awaiting this decision (from the UCI) and now he has been cleared,” said Prudhomme. “When we are told he has done nothing wrong we are obviously not going to maintain (the ban). It’s just a shame the decision came so late.”
WADA (the World Anti Doping Association) accepted the UCI’s decision to drop the investigation against Froome and said they will not be appealing it.
“Based on careful consideration of the facts, the agency accepts that the analytical result of Mr Froome’s sample from 7 September 2017 during the Vuelta a Espana, which identified the prohibited substance salbutamol at a concentration in excess of the decision limit, did not constitute an adverse analytical finding,” WADA explained.
Chris Froome has now been confirmed as the leader of Team Sky’s eight-man team to line up for the Tour as he aims for a record-equalling fifth trip into Paris wearing yellow.