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by Shane Stokes
January 31, 2018
Breakthrough win for Brodie Chapman on Stage 1 of Women’s Herald Sun Tour; Froome denies Italian media reports suggesting ‘plea bargain’ agreement; Haussler sidelined again due to collarbone fracture; Days after partial all-clear, De Plus now diagnosed with pelvic fracture; Powers confirms Aspire Racing team is stopping and that he is considering retirement; Valverde on Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana: ‘We’ll really go for it’; Kittel on ‘best Tour performance yet’ and green jersey chances; Brajkovic signs for Adria Mobil Cycling, returning to his former team; Devastating figures show that Australian kids’ fitness is at an all-time low; Video: Close encounters of the kangaroo kind; Video: Skuji?s shows off Trek-Segafredo’s training and race kits
Responding to a report in the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper which said that he would accept a six-month sanction over his failed doping test during the Vuelta a España, Chris Froome has rubbished the claims. “I have seen the report in Corriere della Sera this morning – it’s completely untrue,” he said via Twitter.
Media sought a response from Team Sky, who in turn referred them to Froome’s tweet. The multiple Tour de France winner was tested days before winning the Vuelta a Espana last September, with analysis of that sample showing that he had twice the maximum permitted amount of salbutamol in his system.
Although it is a specified substance, and the case is therefore seen as less serious than with ‘harder’ products such as EPO or steroids, he is still facing a ban of up to a year. He has thus far declined to accept a voluntary suspension (a compulsory suspension is not required at this point in time in relation to cases invoving specified substances), and said he will fight the case.
According to the Corriere della Sera report, his wife Michelle had advised him to agree to a plea bargain, or ‘acceptance of consequences’, admitting negligence in the use of his asthma inhaler. It said that Froome would accept a six month ban plus the loss of his Vuelta a España title and, in return, that he was hoping the ban would be backdated to September 7, the date of the test.
If that were to be the case, it would mean that he would be able to ride the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. However Froome and Team Sky have made clear that he has not accepted a provisional suspension, as has the UCI. This would seem to mean that any sanction couldn’t be backdated.