Chris Froome says he has not broken any rules amid Salbutamol test
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 14/12/17 9:19am
Chris Froome says he has not broken any rules and believes his legacy will remain intact after the UCI asked for an explanation on elevated levels of Salbutamol in his sample.
On Wednesday, Team Sky confirmed that the UCI had sought an explanation about elevated levels of Salbutamol in Froome's urine during the Vuelta a Espana, which he won to add to his earlier Tour de France victory.
A team statement explained that a urine test taken on September 7, after stage 18 of the Vuelta, revealed a concentration of Salbutamol above World Anti-Doping Agency rules, and said the "notification of the test finding does not mean that any rule has been broken".
The statement said Froome increased his dosage of Salbutamol on the advice of Team Sky doctors after experiencing "acute asthma symptoms" during the last week of the year's final grand tour.
The four-time Tour de France winner says he understands people's fears of another doping scandal in cycling but he insists that is not the case here, and refuted suggestions his legacy would be impacted by the situation.
"I do understand this has come as a big shock to a lot of people but I stand by what I have always said and I certainly haven't broken any rules here," said Froome. "I haven't taken any more than the permissible amount and I'm sure at the end of the day, the truth will be told.
"I can understand a lot of people's reactions, especially given the history of the sport, but this is a very different case. This is not a positive test.
"I've always taken my leadership position in the sport very seriously. Obviously, the sport is coming from a place with a very dark background and I've tried to do everything throughout my career to try and show that the sport has turned around and certainly in my case now, I don't feel as if there was any wrongdoing."
He added: "As it stands, the UCI have asked me for more information regarding my use of Salbutamol, which is a very common medicine used in treating asthma. I think all asthmatics out there will know what Salbutamol is.
"And I've obviously been only too happy to try and help the UCI fill in the blanks and to give all that information up along with the team to try and get to the bottom of what has happened here."
Froome says Salbutamol "is a very complex subject" but insists he has been treating his asthma properly for a decade now.
"Salbutamol is something that can be affected by a lot of different factors. Dehydration, the way the body metabolises it, for example, can vary very much day to day, and also between different individuals," he said.
"The more I have read about it, the more I have learned about it, the more I understand it is a very complex subject.
"There are very clear limits as to how much Salbutamol an athlete is able to take. It doesn't require a TUE and you have to remember, I have been a professional cyclist now, treating my symptoms and racing with asthma, for 10 years.
"This is my 10th season as a professional cyclist. I know what those rules are, I know what those limits are and I've never gone over those limits."
On the day the test was taken, on September 7, Froome told reporters he was feeling fine but he insists now he did not want to give any of his rivals an edge for the following day of racing, and says he was having problems breathing.
"You have to take a bit of a step back here and remember that during a grand tour, I'm in the leader's jersey, I'm obviously being tested every day but more than that, I am racing against guys who are looking for any kind of weakness," he said.
"I'm not going to openly admit halfway or three-quarters of the way through a grand tour that 'yes, I am suffering with something here, I have got a weakness' because my rivals would all come out the next day absolutely swinging.
"In the heat of the moment, that is part of the race. I need to try and disguise any kind of weaknesses at that point.
"I think the mere fact that the journalists were asking me 'are you sick? Are you battling with something?'... it meant that they could see I was having problems breathing after the stage. It was clear to everyone that I was very symptomatic at that time."
Froome insists he has the proper medical records, is providing the UCI with all the relevant information and says he has not focused on the prospect of not competing next year, depending on the outcome of the situation.
"I have certainly shared everything I have with the UCI and told them exactly, I have got a very clear routine when I use my inhaler and how many times I use it, and I have given all that information to the UCI to help get to the bottom of this," he said.
"As it stands right now, I'm just going to focus on the process and try to give the authorities all the relevant information and make sure that I give myself the best chance in this case but I'm certainly not going to speculate about the outcome as it stands."