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by Shane Stokes
December 15, 2017
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Four-time world champion Tony Martin has expressed strong criticism of Chris Froome and the UCI, saying that he believes it is unacceptable that the British rider was allowed to keep competing after he had an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol.
“I am totally angry. There is definitely a double standard being applied in the Christopher Froome case,” the German rider said via his Facebook page. “Other athletes are suspended immediately after a positive test. He and his team are given time by the UCI to explain it all. I do not know of any similar case in the recent past. That is a scandal, and he should at least not have been allowed to appear in the World Championships.”
Martin was some way off his best in this year’s world championship time trial, finishing ninth. He previously won the race in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016. He suggested that there may be favouritism at play with Froome and Team Sky. “Not only the public but also I have immediately the impression that there is wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes. Agreements are being made and ways are being sought as to how to get out of this case. Do he and his team enjoy a special status?
“These actions are major blow to the difficult anti-doping fight, which I am leading with riders like Marcel Kittel. We need a consequent and transparent approach by the UCI. What is going on here is inconsequent, not transparent, unprofessional and unfair.”
Under UCI rules relating to specified substances such as salbutamol, the UCI is not obliged to suspend the rider in question nor announce the case until such time as he or she is found guilty. However the optics of Froome riding the world championships has led to the frustration expressed by Martin and others.