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WADA decides against Froome anti-doping appeal

WADA will not appeal Froome decision as road opens up for defence of Tour de France title

Joe Robinson
2 Jul 2018

A firm line could have just been drawn underneath the Chris Froome salbutamol investigation as the World Anti-Doping Agency announced that it would not appeal the UCI's decision the close the case

In its own statement WADA confirmed that it would no longer pursue Froome's adverse analytical finding for salbutamol (AAF) at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, going as far as saying that the original test results did not comprise an AAF. 

'WADA’s announcement follows that of the UCI earlier today, which announced that the anti-doping proceedings involving Mr Froome have now been closed,' its statement read.

'Based on careful consideration of the facts, the Agency accepts that the analytical result of Mr Froome’s sample from 7th September 2017 during the Vuelta a Espana, which identified the prohibited substance Salbutamol at a concentration in excess of the decision limit of 1200 ng/mL, did not constitute an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF).'

WADA then stated that the final decision not to impose a ban on Froome was reached due to 'a careful review of all explanations and supporting evidence submitted by Mr Froome in the month of June (which the UCI shared with WADA), as well as thorough consultation with internal and independent external experts.'

This was due to Froome being able to explain that the salbutamol in his urine sample was from the substance being inhaled and that amount being within the 'permissible maximum dose of 1600 mcg/24 hours, not to exceed 800 mcg per 12 hours.'

It was rumoured that Froome and his team submitted in excess of 1,000 pages of documents in explanation of why the rider returned such a high concentration of the asthma drug at the Vuelta.

Usually, returning such a high level for salbutamol would see a rider have to complete a 'controlled pharmacokinetic study' in order demonstrate that such high concerntrations of salbutamol could be returned within the premissable, inhaled dose. 

This was exactly what Italian Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) attempted to do for the same offence in 2014 however his results were rejected by the hearing panel who went to hand the rider a nine month ban.

In the case of Froome however, WADA has decided such test would be impossible to complete stating, 'in Mr Froome’s case, WADA accepts that a CPKS would not have been practicable as it would not have been possible to adequately recreate the unique circumstances that preceded the 7th September doping control (e.g. illness, use of medication, chronic use of Salbutamol at varying doses over the course of weeks of high intensity competition).'

Froome will now be completely clear to defend his Tour de France title from this Saturday starting in Noirmoriter, France.

This decision also means that Froome will keep his 2017 Vuelta and 2018 Giro d'Italia titles.