Gianni Bugno has defended Chris Froome’s decision to continue racing while trying to explain his Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for salbutamol, insisting the Team Sky leader is innocent until proven guilty.
Bugno, double world champion in 1991 and 1992 and now the president of the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) riders association, told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is “on Froome’s side”, but called for a rapid verdict in the case.
Riders often suspend themselves while caught up in a doping case, or are suspended by their team due to internal rules or those of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible (MPCC). Team Sky is not a member of the MPCC. The World Anti-Doping rules allow time away from racing under a self-suspension to be included in any eventual ban. However, Froome seems determined to race as he fights to clear his name, convinced he has not done anything wrong.
Bugno agrees with his position.
"I’m totally on his side. Froome is innocent until proven guilty and so it’s right he can race," Bugno told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"If he can’t manage to prove his innocence he’ll pay the consequences. That’s the way it is for everyone, not only him. The important thing is that sporting justice quickly decides things."
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However, the risk of Froome racing sportingly sub-judice has sparked anger in many parts of the sport. On Tuesday, his Tour de France rival Romain Bardet said it would be “catastrophic” for cycling’s credibility if the Team Sky rider were to start this year’s Tour de France with a verdict still pending.
“There are eight months to find a solution. I want to believe that's enough time, otherwise, we have to despair about our ability to run our sport. The public wouldn't understand it and neither would I."