Dick Pound: A third of Team Sky's riders are Asthmatic
There was always a surprising number of heroic asthmatics on TUEs
Chris Froome had twice the permitted limit of the anti-asthma drug when tested at the Vuelta a Espana in September. As the drug is not banned outright by the use of a TUE, if he can somehow prove he kept to the permitted dosage, he would avoid a ban and being stripped of his victory.
However, former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound, says that Chris Froome could still face sanctions for his adverse analytical finding for Salbutamol even if the UCI decides not to impose a ban.
Pound has expressed scepticism at the number of “heroic asthmatics” in cycling.
“If the UCI don’t impose a sanction, then it’s possible that WADA could step in,” Pound told the press. “If WADA steps in then I’d imagine it would go to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) as a last resort.”
“If you’re over the threshold by 100 per cent, that needs some explanation,” he said. “At that level, it will be hard for the International Cycling Union to not do something in terms of sanction.”
Commenting on the use of salbutamol by cyclists, he added: “There was always a surprising number of heroic asthmatics on TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions). My guess is that the problems in cycling’s credibility are still there.”
Greg Lemond: Chris Froome's defence is ridiculous
Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond says Froome’s adverse analytical finding should be viewed in the context of recent Team Sky controversies, such missing medical records and the infamous Jiffy Bag for which UK Anti-Doping were unable to bring charges.
“The fallacy that salbutamol does not improve performance is only true if you use it as prescribed,” Lemond said. “Taken orally or by injection, it acts as an anabolic steroid, similar to clenbuterol, the drug that Alberto Contador was positive for.
“It’s the athlete’s responsibility for following the rules. As for the use of salbutamol, it’s up to Chris Froome to be responsible for what he puts into his body. He alone is responsible. The peloton relies on the equal application of the rules. If these are not followed, it undermines the sport.”
Team Sky insist that Froome did not exceed the allowed dosage of salbutamol during the Vuelta, and also that he notified his use of the medication as he is required to do.
However, if Froome cannot prove his case then he could get a longer ban. If he doesn't agree with the ban he can appeal it with CAS, this can be a long drawn out process, risking an even longer time waiting for an appeal decision.
In any case, if Froome doesn't prove his case, then it looks increasing like he will be handed a ban.