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Christian Prudhomme says he won’t stop Chris Froome racing at the Tour de France

Joseph Delves
7 Jun 2018

Race director says decision is up to the UCI, despite having no obligation to let the defending champion ride

Having previously been reported to be contemplating blocking Chris Froome’s return to the Tour de France, race director Christian Prudhomme says he won’t stand in his way. This is despite the case regarding his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a España likely to remain unresolved before the race starts in July.

With the case currently being adjudicated by the UCI, Prudhomme seems keen to let the world governing body have the final say.

Asked by Australian Broadcaster SBS whether organiser ASO might intervene, Prudhomme stated that, 'David Lappartient [the head of the UCI] has said on multiple occasions it is a decision that must be taken by the UCI…

'It’s quite evident this is what we need.'

He also expressed anger that the case has remained unresolved for so long.

'In December Lappartient said there will be resolution, but now his latest comments say it will be a lot more complex,' Prudhomme complained. 'All I say is that we need an answer.'

With the case rumbling on since September of last year, the odds of it being resolved by the start of the Tour appear remote.

Especially with Team Sky’s lawyers contributing ever more evidence to the reported 1,500 pages of complex medical evidence under consideration.

While ASO could leave itself open to lawsuits from Team Sky if it excluded them, there is a precedent. ASO has previously barred both riders and entire teams for the Tour, most recently Astana in 2008.

There had been suggestions that Team Sky would withdraw its star rider from the Giro d'Italia, which he rode and won.

Equally, some had thought that the biggest Grand Tour of the season would simply not invite Froome to attend.

For his part, David Lappartient has called on the rider to sideline himself, saying it would be a 'disaster' for the sport if he rode.

However, with the UCI’s own rules not imposing a mandatory ban while the case is ongoing, he’s powerless to suspend the rider.

Yet following his win at the Giro, Froome expressed his determination to ride a second Grand Tour. An ambition that now apparently faces one less potential hurdle.

Even with most bookies previously refusing to take bets of the Team Sky rider, his participation at the event is now far more likely.