Chris Froome has been nominated for the prestigious 2018 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award. The organisation collected the nominations through a ballot by members of international sports media. The full list of nominees was announced on Tuesday.
The winners, as voted for by members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be revealed in Monaco on February 27, according to the organisation’s website.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is an annual award ceremony honouring individuals and teams from the world of sports along with sporting achievements throughout the year. The awards support the work of Laureus Sport for Good, international projects that use the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving sports has the power to change the world.
Froome is up for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for winning his fourth Tour de France title in 2017. He joins a list of other high-profile athletes nominated for the award including soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, distance runner Mo Farah, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and French and US Open champion Rafael Nadal.
In September, Froome returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) at the Vuelta a España for twice the permissible dose of the asthma medication salbutamol. The test took place September 7 following stage 18 of the Vuelta, a race which Froome went on to win overall. He was notified of the failed test after winning the bronze medal in the individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen on September 20.
He has denied exceeding the permitted dosage of his asthma drug. Salbutamol is a 'specified' substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list and so Froome was not provisionally suspended. To avoid a suspension, Froome and his legal team must convince the anti-doping authorities that he did not exceed permitted dosage and that his sample was skewed by other factors such as dehydration.
Sky Team Principal Dave Brailsford has said, "There are complex medical and physiological issues which affect the metabolism and excretion of Salbutamol. I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol."
If authorities find Froome guilty of an anti-doping rule violation, he risks being banned from the sport and would lose his Vuelta a España title and his bronze medal from the individual time trial a the World Championships. The infraction would not affect his previous results including the four Tour de France victories.
There have been previous cases where Laureus World Sports Awards have been given out and then rescinded. In cycling, Lance Armstrong received the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award in 2002 and the Laureus Comeback of the Year award in 2000. Armstrong won seven Tours de France but authorities stripped him of those titles after he admitted to using performance-enhancing substance during his career.
The Laureus website states that Armstrong's Award was rescinded after the sporting successes on which the Laureus World Sports Academy voted have been revoked by the relevant sport governing body.