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by Shane Stokes
January 17, 2018
Greipel back to his winning ways on stage 1 of the Tour Down Under; Report: Froome’s defence to be based on malfunctioning kidneys argument; Bardet wants Froome to take a voluntary suspension while salbutamol case is progressing; UCI challenges Lotto-Soudal’s claims that Lambrecht was treated unfairly; Brussels Grand Départ announced for 2019 Tour de France; Landis predicts Froome case could spell end for Team Sky; USA Cycling announces squad for UCI cyclocross world championships; 100 years of the yellow jersey…but Froome is omitted; Video: Halvorsen talks about planned recovery from wrist fracture; Video: Cavendish interviewed by Irish amateurs on training ride
Former Tour de France runner-up and 2017 podium finisher Romain Bardet has commented on the ongoing Chris Froome case, suggesting that the Briton should suspend himself from racing while the case is evolving.
“I can’t really see how Froome can race as if nothing was going on,” the Frenchman told L’Equipe. “Since Team Sky are doing nothing, nothing prevents their rider from taking a step back until there is a decision from the authorities.”
Thus far Froome has resisted taking a voluntary suspension. Unlike non-specified substances, there is no automatic sidelining of a rider involved in such a case.
Bardet said that he is frustrated with things as they stand. “Will the UCI have the means to shed light on this case? Will experts manage to prove that it is possible to have such high natural levels [of salbutamol]?” he asked.
He said that it was vital that the UCI has a final resolution before this year’s Tour de France. “If not, it would be catastrophic for the image of the race and the image of cycling. It would be a farce,” said Bardet. “How can our sport be credible if the number one rider were to race the Tour with the possibility of a retrospective sanction? Cycling would make no sense.”
In his view, Bardet said, Froome probably faces a ban. “If you look at legal precedent, other riders in this situation have been sanctioned. I struggle to see how a rider with this dose of salbutamol” – Froome had twice the legal limit in his urine – “can be let off. Otherwise what is the point of a threshold?”