Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Froome Could Lose Title after Drugs Test Shock; Briton Also in Danger of Ban after Adverse Findings for Asthma Medicine during Vuelta

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Froome Could Lose Title after Drugs Test Shock; Briton Also in Danger of Ban after Adverse Findings for Asthma Medicine during Vuelta

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie Sports Correspondent

CHRIS FROOME could be banned and stripped of his Vuelta title after a drugs test produced an "adverse analytical finding" during the race in September.

Froome, who became only the third winner of the Tour de France-Vuelta double in the same season, had twice the allowed amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his body than permitted by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

If the 32-year-old and Team Sky are unable to explain the results then he faces a possible ban and losing the title. The rider and team have known about the finding -- from a urine sample on September 7 -- since the 20th of the month, the day he won bronze in the World Championships individual time trial in Bergen, Norway.

The team's medics and lawyers have been arguing the case with cycling governing body, the UCI, with no timeframe on when a conclusion might be reached.

As an asthmatic, Froome is permitted to take Salbutamol but WADA rules say there can only be 1,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) in the system compared to the 2,000 ng/ml that were found in the sample taken after stage 18 which ended in Santo Toribio de Liebana in northern Spain.

It is believed Sky are trying to prove in a laboratory that neither Froome nor team doctor Derick MacLeod, who will also work with Team GB at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, flouted the rules and that the rider might excrete excess levels of the substance despite taking permitted amounts.

Sky have pointed out that none of the other samples taken at either the Tour or the Vuelta was questionable.

In a statement this morning, Froome said: "It is well known I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are. I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms (always within the permissible limits) and I know for use I will be tested every day I wear the race leader's jersey. …

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