4-Time Tour De France winner Chris Froome could be losing his Vuelta (tour of Spain) title of this year after a failed urine test.
If he is unable to explain the results of that test, British rider Froome could potentially face a ban and lose his Vuelta title. Other wins will then also be looked at.
The urine test, taken on 7 September following the 18th stage of the race, showed levels of the drug Salbutamol, which is commonly taken for asthma, were at 2,000 nanograms per milliliter. That compares to the World Anti-Doping Agency's threshold of 1,000 nanograms per milliliter.
Mr Froome was notified of the "adverse analytical finding" on 20 September 2017.
This year, he became the first Briton to win the Vuelta and only the third rider of all time to win the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same season.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Chris Froome could face ban after abnormal drugs test result during Vuelta a España | <a href="https://t.co/uO4T37Zgim">https://t.co/uO4T37Zgim</a> <a href="https://t.co/nqjnWZMlzt">pic.twitter.com/nqjnWZMlzt</a></p>— Cycling Weekly (@cyclingweekly) <a href="https://twitter.com/cyclingweekly/status/940855961350221826?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Knowing that the worldwide press would be jumping on this news, 32-year-old Chris Froome, pre-empted the UCI statement by releasing a press release himself, which was published a few minutes before the UCI’s.
In it Froome said: “My asthma got worse at the Vuelta, so I followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose. ‘I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously. The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires.”
It is another setback for the sport of cycling, which was troubled already with the scandal surrounding US rider Lance Armstrong, who had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005. As from 2012, he was banned from sanctioned Olympic sports for life as a result of long-term doping.