LONDON (Reuters) – Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome was cleared by cycling’s world governing body on Monday of any wrongdoing after he tested positive for excessive levels of the asthma drug Salbutamol.
Froome, 33, had tested positive for excessive levels of Salbutamol following a urine sample at last September’s Vuelta a Espana.
“On 28 June 2018, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informed the UCI that it would accept, based on the specific facts of the case, that Mr Froome’s sample results do not constitute an Adverse Analytical Finding,” the International Cycling Union (UCI) said in a statement.
“In light of WADA’s unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome.”
The Briton had always denied any wrongdoing and welcomed the news, which means he will be cleared to race in this year’s Tour de France which begins on Saturday.
“I am very pleased that the UCI has exonerated me. While this decision is obviously a big deal for me and the team, it’s also an important moment for cycling,” Froome said in a statement.
“I understand the history of this great sport – good and bad. I have always taken my leadership position very seriously and I always do things the right way. I meant it when I said that I would never dishonor a winner’s jersey and that my results would stand the test of time.
“I have never doubted that this case would be dismissed for the simple reason that I have known throughout I did nothing wrong… I appreciate more than anyone else the frustration at how long the case has taken to resolve and the uncertainty this has caused. I am glad it’s finally over.”
The Team Sky rider, who won the Giro d’Italia in May while the investigation was ongoing, will be aiming to win a record-equalling fifth Tour when the race gets underway in Noirmoutier.
“We have always had total confidence in Chris and his integrity. We knew that he had followed the right medical guidance in managing his asthma at the Vuelta and were sure that he would be exonerated in the end, which he has been,” Team Sky’s team principal Dave Brailsford said.
Reporting By Arnab Paul in Bengaluru, additional reportig by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Angus MacSwan