Chris Froome will almost certainly be on the start line at the Giro d’Italia in May with the consequences of his adverse analytical finding still unresolved, according the head of world cycling David Lappartient.
Lappartient recently said that such a scenario at the Tour de France in July would be a “disaster” for the sport of cycling and insisted Team Sky should have removed Froome from racing while the case remains open. Froome responded by criticising the UCI president’s decision to voice his concerns through the media.
Team Sky insist they would like a resolution as soon as possible, after Froome was found to have double the permitted limit of the asthma drug Salbutamol in his system following a stage of his Vuelta a Espana triumph in September. However, anti-doping rules do not allow the UCI to set any time limits for the case and it could conceivably drag on for months.
“When will it end? I don’t know to be honest. I hope as soon as possible. I said I hope before the Giro d’Italia but I don’t think so and I’m not sure that this is possible,” Lappartient told La Gazzetta dello Sport at the weekend’s Milan-San Remo classic race.
“We’re pushing for as soon as possible. And that’d be the best thing for the rider, the team, race organisers and the UCI. But it involves technical issues. It’s not simple and needs time. The procedure is long, questions have to be answered, documents have to be studied. Both sides have powerful lawyers and the case is far more complicated than usual.”
Lappartient added that technical details between the respective legal teams are slowing the process. “I’m not authorised to say much out of respect for the WADA code. The case is at the LADS (Legal Anti-Doping Services) and our lawyers and the rider’s lawyers are in discussion.
“Before passing to the next phase, we’ve got to be sure to have responded to every question. Nobody wants to risk going forward without having closed every detail. For that reason, LADS has asked some questions to the Anti-Doping Tribunal, to be sure to have followed the correct procedure.”
The Giro d’Italia begins in Israel on 4 May.