Cookson: Chris Froome had no special treatment from the UCI

Former UCI head confirms he knew of Chris Froome's failed salbutamol test

Former UCI president Brian Cookson has told Cyclingnews that he was made aware that Chris Froome had returned an adverse analytical finding (AFF) for salbutamol one day before being ousted as the head of the sport's governing body. The development comes just days after Cookson had told the BBC that the reputations of both Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky should be reinstated after a UKAD investigation was closed following a lack of evidence into an alleged doping violation that took place in 2011. Cookson has also told Cyclingnews that 'Froome had no special treatment' in relation to his case.

In a message sent to Cyclingnews and the BBC, Cookson said that the UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) had followed their rules after Froome returned the failed test on stage 18 of the Vuelta a España. The Team Sky rider had double the permitted levels of the asthma medication in his system and although he went on to win the race overall – and complete a historic Tour de France – Vuelta double – he now faces the prospect of losing his Spanish title and a ban if convicted.

"Under procedures introduced during my time as UCI President all anti-doping matters were dealt with by the totally independent CADF and the Legal Anti Doping Service supervised by an external lawyer. As UCI President I therefore had no role or influence in any individual case. I had then, and still have today, confidence in the integrity of all those involved, that they would always follow the correct procedures in every case, and that no rider was treated in any way differently from any other. I was informed that Chris Froome had provided an A sample with an anomalous result for a substance that did not result in an immediate provisional suspension in the last 24 hours of my tenure at UCI. When I left the UCI the following day, the matter passed to the new President and, rightly, I was no longer informed about the matter. I cannot comment further on this or any other ongoing case."

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When asked by Cyclingnews why he called the reputations of Team Sky and Wiggins to be restored, despite knowing the salbutamol news relating to Froome, Cookson said that he 'mistakenly thought that the matter must have been resolved'.

Cookson was crushed by David Lappartient 37-8 at the UCI Congress in Bergen on September 22. According to a statement released by Team Sky, Froome was informed of the test results on September 20, with the anti-doping test having taken place on September 7.

When the Guardian and Le Monde broke the news surrounding Froome’s test result the UCI released a statement of their own, stating that while it voluntarily reports provisional suspensions on its website, Froome was not under suspension, and therefore the UCI felt it was not compelled to publicise the case.

On Friday, Pat McQuaid, the man who Cookson replaced as president in 2013, criticised his successor. The Irishman told the BBC: "If a result comes through from the laboratory that a big, big rider has provided an adverse analytical sample then the president is involved, so he would have been aware," McQuaid told the BBC.

"It really surprised me what Brian said about Sky getting their credibility back when all the time he knew that this thing was going on in the background," McQuaid said.

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