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Riders and team staff give their comments on the Froome salbutamol decision

Joe Robinson
17 Jan 2018

We have a look at some of the latest comment and analysis surrounding Froome's adverse reading

As another day passes without any visible progress in the Chris Froome salbutamol case, more voices in the cycling world weigh in with their opinion. This time it's the turn of Floyd Landis, Gianni Bugno and AG2R La Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu to have their say.

While Bugno defended the rider, Landis launched a damning attack while Lavenu simply called for Froome to receive a sanction.

Landis offered what could be considered as the most damning assessment on the situation since the failed test was leaked by The Guardian and Le Monde last December.

In an interview with The Guardian, Landis attacked the 'marginal gains' philosophy of Team Sky while also expressing his amusement at the potential defence Froome plans to use in response to the adverse findings returned at last year's Vuelta a Espana.

The latest reports show that Froome's response to the adverse reading will be based around claims of a kidney problem.

'It’s very difficult to get to the level Chris Froome showed by using an inhaler. If that will form his excuse I think it’s nonsense and I don’t think many buy it,' Landis said.

'He’s trying to defend himself because he has everything to lose. I feel sympathy for him but if he doesn’t face it now he will have to later.'

Landis then turned his criticism to Team Sky and their 'marginal gains' tagline, drawing upon the collection of recent scandals that have hit both the team and British Cycling in the past 18 months.

'We can take from what Shane [Sutton] has said they were at least pushing the limit with certain things. Now, with Froome’s failed test, if you take all those things together, there’s no defending that team. Any reasonable person would have more questions,' said Landis.

'There’s no belief in that zero tolerance system any more; that was never a real thing. It was just great PR about marginal gains and all these cute little sayings they thought up.'

The former US Postal Service rider then moved on to say that if he was a sponsor of the team, recent events would have seen him 'long gone'.

These comments followed those of AG2R rider Romain Bardet and manager Vincent Lavenu who both called for the suspension of Froome.

Bardet, in an interview with L'Equipe, suggested that his General Classification rival should consider a voluntary suspension until the matter was resolved in order to prevent further controversy for himself and the sport.

The Frenchman's team manager then followed these statements speaking to Velonews. Lavenu stated that, 'No one would understand it, neither the journalists, nor the public or the other riders, if there is not a sanction,' before outlining the effect the case is having on the image of cycling.

Going somewhat against the grain, former World Champion and president of the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés Gianni Bugno defended Froome. 

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Bugno claimed that he was on Froome's side yet agreed a quick resolution to the case was needed.

'I'm totally on his side. Froome is innocent until proven guilty and so it’s right he can race,' adding, 'If he can’t manage to prove his innocence he’ll pay the consequences.

'That’s the way it is for everyone, not only him.'

A conclusion to the Froome salbutamol case coming soon seems unlikely. 

The rider has continued to train in South Africa and Europe since the news broke, with no suggestion of when the team and Froome are planning to produce their evidence in defence of Froome's adverse analytical finding.

The UCI has stated that it is yet to receive an official dossier from Team Sky, detailing their defence.

The team haven't commented on the situation with the latest developments suggesting a team of scientific and legal experts have been employed to explore the possible defence of Froome's postive tests rooting from malfunctioning kidneys.