UPDATED: Cycling’s world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, has announced multiple Grand Tour winner Chris Froome was found to have an excess amount of asthma medication in a urine sample he provided following Stage 18 of this year’s La Vuelta.
Froome was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of Salbutamol in excess of 1000 nanograms per ml in a sample collected during the event on 7 September 2017. Froome is reported to have returned a result of 2000ng/ml. The UCI issued a statement to say Froome was notified of the adverse finding on September 20.
“The anti-doping control was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling,” said a UCI spokesperson.
B-Sample Confirmation – Proceedings Underway
“The analysis of the B sample has confirmed the results of the rider’s A sample and the proceedings are being conducted in line with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules,” the spokesperson added.
Froome, who has suffered from asthma since childhood, said “It is well known that 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 sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader’s jersey,” he added.
“My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose.”
Nibali Could Be Handed Win, And Froome A Possible Ban
Facing a worse-case scenario of the 2017 Vuelta win being stripped from Froome and handed to second-placed Vincenzo Nibali. There is also the possibility of Froome receiving a temporary ban. Team Sky stated that during the final week of the Vuelta, Chris experienced acute asthma symptoms.
“On the advice of the Team Sky doctor, he used an increased dosage of Salbutamol (still within the permissible doses) in the run-up to the 7 September urine test,” a Team Sky statement read.
“As race leader, Chris was tested after every stage through this period and he declared his use of the medication as part of the process.”
Team Sky went on to say there’s “considerable evidence to show that there are significant and unpredictable variations in the way Salbutamol is metabolised and excreted.”
“As a result, the use of permissible dosages of Salbutamol can sometimes result in elevated urinary concentrations, which require explanation. A wide range of factors can affect the concentrations, including the interaction of Salbutamol with food or other medications, dehydration and the timing of Salbutamol usage before the test.”
Froome Takes His Leadership Position ‘Very Seriously’
As the investigation continues Froome said he will assist with enquires. “I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously. said Froome. “The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires.”
Meanwhile La Vuelta organisers issued a short statement regarding the shock news.
“Unipublic, the organiser of La Vuelta, wishes to communicate that it will await the UCI’s official conclusions,” the statement reads.
“The regulatory entity has launched an investigation and the position of La Vuelta’s organiser is one of extreme caution, as it hopes for this issue to be resolved as quickly as possible.”
Over to you – we are keen to hear your thoughts on this case.