Giro d’Italia director Mauro Vegni has called on the UCI to take measures to ensure that Chris Froome (Team Sky) can only start the Italian Grand Tour if there is a guarantee that he will not later be suspended and stripped of his results due to his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at last year’s Vuelta a España.
In particular, Vegni and RCS Sport are eager to avoid a repeat of the situation that arose in 2011, when Alberto Contador carried the maglia rosa to Milan only to be stripped of the title the following year after he was given a retroactive two-year ban for his positive test for Clebuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
"On the Froome case, we’re awaiting the next steps from the UCI," Vegni told the ANSA news agency on Wednesday.
"We as Giro d’Italia organisers don’t want to stick our beaks in, but we want a certificate from the UCI that allows the rider to be at the start of the next Giro d’Italia. They will have to tell us if the rider is going to be suspended, or if he can compete. We certainly can’t accept a repeat of the Contador case or a trial after the fact."
During the final week of the 2017 Vuelta, Froome returned an anti-doping sample that contained twice the permissible level of salbutamol, but as salbutamol is classed as a specified substance, he is free to race until the case is resolved.
- Chris Froome returns adverse analytical finding for salbutamol
- Vuelta a Espana organisers call for 'extreme caution' after Froome salbutamol result
- Giro d'Italia organisers not warned about Froome's salbutamol case
- Timeline of Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding for salbutamol
No clear time line
Froome has not competed since the Guardian and Le Monde broke the news of his adverse analytical finding in December, and Team Sky have declined to confirm or deny reports that he will begin his 2018 season at the Vuelta a Andalucia, which starts on February 14. Froome is currently training intensely in South Africa.
There is as yet no clear timeline for the resolution of the case, though if Froome is to be cleared, he will have to explain the elevated level of salbutamol found in his urine sample from the final week of the Vuelta a España. On Tuesday, Froome refuted a story published in Il Corriere della Sera this week which suggested that he was entertaining a plea bargain in order to receive a reduced sanction.
Froome announced his intention to ride the Giro in a pre-recorded video at the 2018 route presentation in late November – almost two months after he had been informed of his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol, and two weeks before the news entered the public domain.
The 2018 Giro d'Italia is scheduled to get underway in Israel on Friday, May 4.