Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has demanded progress from the UCI in Chris Froome's salbutamol case. It is not the first time that Prudhomme has expressed his frustration with the lack of decision in the case and the Frenchman appeared exasperated with the situation in an interview with Australian broadcaster SBS.
Froome's case has been ongoing since he was notified last September of a finding of elevated levels of asthma medication salbutamol in an anti-doping test conducted during the Vuelta a Espana. UCI president David Lappartient had hoped the case would be resolved ahead of last month's Giro d'Italia but told Cyclingnews during the race that he had doubts that it would be sorted before the Tour de France start on July 7. Prudhomme made no comments on Froome and the contents of the case but said that he wanted some clarity.
"Since December, when we all learned about the abnormal reading in September, I kept asking for answers," Lappartient told SBS. "David Lappartient, the UCI president, was saying that there will be a resolution, but now his latest comments tend to say it will be a lot more complex. All I say is that we need an answer, or at least some light shed on the matter because without clarity it's quite evident that everyone will lose.
"How is it possible in the world of cycling that for something that happened in September, nine months down the line before the biggest race in the world we don't have an answer? We need progress on this issue, that's all that I can say right now. We have three weeks, maybe a month left, we need to shed light on this matter."
Froome won the Giro d'Italia last month and is set to defend his Tour de France title in July. There had been speculation that Tour de France organiser the ASO could exercise its own rules to prevent Froome from racing at the Tour de France, though past precedent made it unlikely to succeed. Asked about it again, Prudhomme skirted the question and said that it was down to the UCI to make the call rather than the ASO.
"David Lappartient said it multiple times, it is a decision that must be taken by the UCI," he said. "It is quite evident this is what we need. What people may be struggling to understand, cycling works like anything else. You can't imagine the World Cup not being done by FIFA. It's FIFA that makes the rules and makes sure that the rules are respected. We are the organisers of the… we don't make the rules.
"It's very different to any other sports – including the IOC – they make the rules and put on the event. We are very different, we must obey the rules. We want answers, that's clearly what we want."