The former head of cycling’s world governing body said Chris Froome’s failed drug test was a disaster for the sport and claimed it would be very hard for the four-times Tour de France winner to avoid a ban.
Froome insisted he had not broken any anti-doping rules at the Vuelta a España in September, when the Briton’s urine sample showed double the permitted amount of the asthma drug, salbutamol.
But Pat McQuaid, who led the UCI between 2005 and 2013, said: “I don’t see how Chris Froome can turn around like he did and say: ‘I played by the rules, I broke no rules.’ The fact is his urine sample was twice the permitted limit. It’s up to him to go and prove that he could have done otherwise.”
Team Sky said the failed test would not yet have been public knowledge had an investigation by the Guardian and Le Monde not forced them to admit their highest-profile rider was fighting to clear his name. McQuaid thinks the issue could cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the team run by Sir Dave Brailsford.
“They’ve had a very difficult 15 months [and] when they set out to be the team that is the clean team that was going to bring back the credibility of cycling, they certainly have gone in the opposite direction this year,” McQuaid told the BBC. “They are a team with by far the biggest budget in cycling and they can afford all of the experts and all of the medical back-up and all of the things that a lot of teams can’t afford, and they find themselves in this situation today.
“It’s going to be very difficult to see how they can come out of this with any credibility at all, to be honest with you. It begs a lot of questions.”