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ASO moving to block Chris Froome's Tour de France defence

Tour organisers are considering preventing the defending champion from riding as salbutamol case rumbles on

Joe Robinson
22 Mar 2018

Organisers of the Tour de France say they are willing to prevent Chris Froome from defending his title if the ongoing salbutamol case is left unresolved by July.

According to Press Association reports, Tour organiser ASO will be willing to refuse Chris Froome a place in the race, confident that the move would would resist any legal challenge presented by Team Sky.

Froome's participation at both the Tour and the Giro d'Italia this year has been under scrutiny since news of his adverse analytical finding (AAF) for asthma drug salbutamol at last year's Vuelta a Espana was leaked last December. 

Both the ASO and Giro organiser RCS have stressed continued concerns over Froome's participation at the two Grand Tours while the case remains unsolved, saying their chief concern is that any potential race results achieved by Froome could be subsequently stripped, leaving the events in disrepute.

In February, Giro organiser Mauro Vegni claimed he was 'powerless' as to whether Froome could line up at the race start in Jerusalem this May though these latest developments suggest the contrary.

As for the UCI, the president of the sport's governing body, David Lappartient, confirmed earlier this week that Froome's case will not be heard before the Giro but said he hoped for it to be resolved quickly, taking the responsibility of barring Froome from a race out of the hands of race organisers.

The UCI could impose a temporary ban on Froome while his AAF remains outstanding however it seems this potential ship has already sailed given that the four-time Tour winner has already competed this season at both the Ruta del Sol and Tirreno-Adriatico.

Since the leaking of his adverse test, Froome and Team Sky have been working closely with a team of scientists and lawyers in order to build a defence case. One of these lawyers is American Mike Morgan, who has defended Alberto Contador, Lizzie Deignan and Sergio Henao in similar cases in the past.

Froome will continue his buildup towards the Giro-Tour double by racing the Tour of the Alps, which starts on 16th April. The Giro begins on 4th May in Israel with the Tour starting on 7th July in the Vendee region of France.

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