AIGLE, Switzerland - Chris Froome was cleared Monday of wrongdoing in an anti-doping case which had cast a shadow over his participation in the Tour de France. "I am very pleased that the UCI has exonerated me", the British rider said in a statement issued by Team Sky after the Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport's ruling body, said a probe into Froome had been dropped.
The 33-year-old Kenyan-born rider said he is now looking forward to attempting to win a fifth Tour de France which gets underway on Saturday. "While this decision is obviously a big deal for me and the Team, it's also an important moment for cycling."
The UCI announced the decision to clear Froome a day after Tour de France organisers barred Froome from taking part in the 2018 edition of world cycling's biggest race over doping suspicions. Froome's appeal against the decision to bar him will be heard by the French national Olympic committee in Paris on Tuesday.
Experts expect him to be cleared to race following the UCI's ruling to clear him. "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that the anti-doping proceedings involving Mr Christopher Froome have now been closed," the UCI said in a statement.
Team Sky's four-time Tour de France champion has been under a cloud since he was found to have twice the permissible amount of the legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during September's Vuelta a Espana, which he won.
Tour de France organisers on Sunday banned Froome from taking part to protect the integrity of the world's best-known cycling race. Froome, 33, recorded an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for Salbutamol, meaning he exceeded the allowed dose of a permitted substance.
Grateful and relieved to finally put this chapter behind me, it has been an emotional 9 months. Thank you to all of those who have supported and believed in me throughout. pic.twitter.com/OGzsg83Gjj— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) July 2, 2018
The abnormal result triggered disciplinary proceedings by the UCI during which "Mr Froome exercised his right to prove that his abnormal result was the consequence of a permitted use," the UCI's statement added. On 28 June 2018, the World Anti Doping Agency informed the UCI that Froome’s sample results did not in fact constitute an adverse analytical finding.
"The UCI has considered all the relevant evidence in detail," the statement said. "In light of WADA’s unparallelled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome."
The UCI has been criticised for dragging its feet over the Froome case, but the statement said that although it would have preferred to settle the case quicker, "it had to ensure that Mr Froome had a fair process, as it would have done with any other rider, and that the correct decision was issued."AFP