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Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme wants a speedy conclusion to the ongoing investigation into Chris Froome and the Sky rider’s Salbutamol case.
“We hope that the situation is cleared up,” Prudhomme told France Info, “and that the investigation does not last months and months.”
Speaking for the first time since the Froome story broke, Prudhomme said race organizers hope for a quick conclusion to the case before the 2018 racing season begins. The last thing the Tour wants is the case dragging on into the grand tour racing season.
“We hope that the situation is cleared up, that we get out of the darkness and ambiguity,” Prudhomme said. “We hope an investigation does not last months and months, and we have an answer at the earliest in the season from the UCI.”
Tour officials are clearly interested in the fate of the four-time Tour winner Froome, who tested positive for high levels of Salbutamol en route to winning the 2017 Vuelta a España. Froome returned a urine sample after stage 18 with double the allowed limit of the asthma medication, and could face a ban and disqualification of the Vuelta title.
“Salbutamol is not a prohibited product, it’s the dose that matters,” he continued. “And that’s why there will be this battle of experts, even if it seems he, the dose found is twice the authorized dose.”
Froome has claimed he did not take more than the allowed doses, and has hired lawyers to make his case. There is no explicit time line, and many fear the case will drag on well into the 2018 racing season.
Prudhomme also cautioned that cycling could fall back into what he called a trap of “short-cuts” and the notion that “cycling equals doping.”
“It is our fight, and the UCI has been fighting for a long time,” Prudhomme said. “We must get out of the ambiguity, so he must have an answer and it must arrive as soon as possible, and that means before the Giro. Giro organizers are certainly more anxious than us.”
Froome is not provisionally banned, and recently wrapped up a training camp in Mallorca. He said he is still planning on racing the Giro and Tour in 2018.