Tour de France director calls for 'serenity' with Froome

Ruben Hill
July 12, 2018

"It wasn't even technically an "AAF" (adverse analytical finding) and few people understood this subtle difference".

That leaves them already facing a yawning gap to those GC hopefuls who managed to avoid trouble, with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac), Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) among those in the front group.

In recent years Sky's riders have been punched and spat at, while Froome allegedly had a cup of urine thrown at him in 2015 by a spectator who shouted "Doper!" as he passed. "Of course it has been damaging".

Froome raced under the cloud of the ongoing investigation at the Giro d'Italia in May, but put it to one side as he staged a remarkable comeback in the final week to win the pink jersey, meaning he now holds all three Grand Tour titles.

Chris Froome maintained his innocence during a UCI investigation into a doping sample, impressing Dave Brailsford in the process.

" "I can understand ASO's position", Froome told a packed press conference in a local sports hall that was used instead of the team hotel when around 150 journalists showed up. I was ill so I had a quiet start to the season, but the team had faith in me, letting me train at home". "But I'd also like to think that now the facts have been established people can make up their own minds".

Both Froome and Brailsford faced questions as to whether they would release any of the evidence they submitted in the rider's defence, but Brailsford said that was not up to the team. World Anti-Doping Agency rules state an athlete can be cleared for excessive salbutamol use if he proves it was due to an appropriate therapeutic dosage.

Tour organisers ASO had made a decision to ban Froome from the race but the world anti-doping agency and the International Cycling Union delivered a long-awaited verdict on a September 2017 test of the Briton that cleared the 33-year-old's name. But things finally worked out and I'm free to race now.

Froome is aiming to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as the only riders to win the Tour five times. "It's something I've never done before so it's completely unknown to me".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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