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BUNINYONG, Australia (CT) – Newly minted Australian time trial champion Rohan Dennis (BMC) has offered his perspective on the Chris Froome salbutamol saga, saying he would have handled the situation differently had he been in Froome’s shoes.
“I’ve got a zero tolerance for any sort of positive test, and that goes for myself,” Dennis said after winning his third-straight national time trial title. “If I accidentally or purposefully take something — which I never would purposefully take something — then you just have to own it and accept that you get a slap on the wrist and try to move on and try not to make a mistake again.”
On December 13 last year Team Sky and the UCI revealed that Chris Froome had returned a urine test containing twice the legal limit of salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a España. Froome went on to win the Vuelta, adding to his Tour de France title from earlier in the year.
Froome has maintained his innocence, saying that while he took an increased dose of salbutamol due to an asthma flare-up, “I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose.”
Froome has been given a “please explain” by the UCI and will likely face a ban — and lose his Vuelta title — if he can’t prove that his elevated salbutamol levels could have been achieved with a legal dose of the drug.
Dennis, who was likely to race against Froome at the 2018 Giro d’Italia, said he would have handled the situation differently to Froome.
“I don’t know the full details but I think for myself, if that was me, I’d just say ‘Look, I screwed up. I shouldn’t have done this’, or what not, if that is the case [that Froome made a mistake]”.
Dennis’ teammate Richie Porte is a close friend and former Sky teammate of Froome’s. Speaking after receiving his bronze medal at the Australian time trial championship Porte said he was surprised by Froome’s adverse analytical finding.
“I think it’s a big shame,” Porte said. “I mean, I heard the news — it’s a massive shock but you know … let’s see what happens. Let it all run its course. I’m flabbergasted as you guys [journalists] are too. Let’s see what happens.”