Sunday 23 September 2018

Chris Froome ‘banned’ by Tour de France organisers in bid to prevent ‘damage to the image’ of the race

Chris Froome. Photo: PA
Chris Froome. Photo: PA

Lawrence Ostlere

The Tour de France has moved to bar Chris Froome from competing in the race, with a hearing on Tuesday set to determine whether the decision should be upheld.

The race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) is determined to protect the Tour’s image from the potentially damaging scenario which occurred in the Giro d’Italia which Froome won under the cloud of his adverse sample during the 2017 Vuelta, the case for which is yet to be heard.

ASO has blocked Team Sky’s registration of Froome, according to Le Monde, pointing to article 29 of its own rules which states it “reserves the right to refuse the participation in – or disqualify from – the event, a team or one of its members whose presence is liable to damage the image or reputation of ASO or those of the event”.

Team Sky has appealed the decision and the case will now be heard in the court of arbitration of the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) on Tuesday, four days before the race’s start on Saturday, July 7.

Froome was found to have double the permitted level of the asthma drug Salbutamol in his system when tested after stage 18 of his Vuelta triumph last September. Salbutamol is a specified substance rather than a prohibited one, meaning Froome was allowed the chance explain the test result and continue racing in the meantime.

Froome and Team Sky have denied any wrongdoing.

He has assembled an expensive legal team to present his case but is yet to propose a date for any hearing, and continues to insist that he is desperate for the affair to be resolved as soon as possible. He has faced criticism from some fellow and former riders, suggesting he should step aside from competing while the case remains unresolved.

Neither Team Sky nor ASO have commented on the move to block his participation in this year’s Tour.

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