The race director of the Tour de France has criticised the lack of a decision on Chris Froome’s failed drug test, calling the delay “grotesque”.
Froome has won the Tour de France four times but it is understood Christian Prudhomme does not want the Briton at this year’s race while his anti-doping case is unresolved.
Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, is waiting for Froome and his representatives to submit their response to his adverse finding at the Vuelta a España last September. A urine test showed double the permitted level of the asthma medication Salbutamol in his system. But Froome and Team Sky insist he did not break any anti‑doping rules.
“What we want ardently, like all organisers, is for the UCI to provide a response,” Prudhomme said. “In December I said we wanted a rapid response. Now, we can remove the word ‘rapid’. We want a response. The organisers need a response, not just for us at the Tour de France but for all the organisers, so that there isn’t a rider they’ll later say shouldn’t have been at the start. It’s mad! It’s completely grotesque!”
Prudhomme would not be drawn on whether he would prevent Froome from participating in the Tour if a verdict is not reached in the case before July. Froome has continued to compete even when other riders in the peloton have said they disagree with his inclusion. Last month he was warmly welcomed by the organisers of the Ruta del Sol in Spain and he plans to ride in the Giro d’Italia in May.
The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) urged the UCI to allow organisers of WorldTour races, which include the Tour de France, to exclude riders facing a possible doping sanction from their races.
A spokesman for the organisation, whose members make up two-thirds of first- and second-tier cycling teams but not Team Sky, said: “In order to maintain cycling’s image and credibility it is of great importance that, when facing the situation of a positive or abnormal anti-doping control result, the procedure remains the same whether the rider is part of a MPCC team or not.”