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It's right to race despite puffer probe: Froome

 

By Phil Casey

Chris Froome insists he has "done nothing wrong" and has defended his decision to return to racing at the Ruta del Sol.

The four-time Tour de France winner is still fighting to prove his innocence after returning an adverse analytical finding for asthma drug salbutamol during last year's La Vuelta - a race he won in an historic Tour-Vuelta double.

Several rivals, as well as UCI president David Lappartient, have called for Froome to be suspended by Team Sky until the case is resolved.

But the 32-year-old will race on and finished safely in the main bunch on the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol between Mijas and Granada yesterday, a stage won by France's Thomas Boudat of Direct Energie in a sprint finish.

"It was good to be back racing," Froome said. "What was really touching was how riders from other teams came over to offer their support.

"I know I've done nothing wrong and there's a process in place for me to be able to demonstrate that, and that's obviously what I intend to do.

"It is not going to go any faster if I was sitting at home. We're going as fast as we can on it now and hopefully we'll get a result as soon as possible.

"Obviously it was meant to be a confidential process. It has been made public now but a lot of other athletes and riders have been through this process. I'm not asking for the benefit of the doubt here. I'm just asking for a fair process."

Team Sky general manager Sir Dave Brailsford insists Froome "stuck within the rules" regarding the use of his inhaler.

"How many times is he allowed to use his puffer? You're allowed to use it 16 times in 24 hours and of course the question here is, 'Did he use it more than that?'" said Brailsford.

"We do need to get to the bottom of it, but it is not this great calamity of a doping story which people are trying to make out.

"I'm sure we'll be able to demonstrate that he absolutely stuck within the rules."

Belfast Telegraph

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