Movistar steer clear of Froome salbutamol case at team launch

Triple Tour de France podium finisher Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and his co-leaders in the Spanish squad have steered clear of making any dramatic statements about Chris Froome (Team Sky) and his salbutamol case.

Speaking at his team presentation for 2018 today in Madrid, Quintana said simply that he hopes those overseeing the case "handle it correctly, as they would do with any other rider."

"The rules have to be followed," Quintana said, according to a report in Spanish sports daily AS.

His future teammate Mikel Landa (Team Sky), who played a key support role for Froome in the Tour de France, was equally unwilling to be drawn into any kind of controversy. "I'm here to discuss next season and celebrate our team launch," he told reporters. "Let's be cautious and see what happens."

AS reported that Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) said, "He [Froome] has to explain what happened. It is a product which is permitted" - albeit up to a specified threshold. But Valverde also emphasised, "He's Chris Froome, and his test came back with double the level that is permitted."

Team manager Eusebio Unzué told the Spanish newspaper that he had been shocked when the news broke.

"It's very sad. We're fighting in cycling to try to be sure these sorts of thing don't happen." Froome, he pointed out, "is currently the standard bearer for the whole peloton."

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