Christian Prudhomme has reiterated his displeasure in the fact that Chris Froome (Team Sky) heads into next week's Tour de France despite no resolution in his salbutamol case, and has called for the rules to be modified.
Froome returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) at last year's Vuelta a España with double the allowed dose of salbutamol found in his system after a post-stage 18 control. Froome went on to win the race and claimed the Giro d'Italia this May. He heads into the Tour de France seeking his fifth title and an incredible statistic that would mean he has won the last four Grand Tours if he were to take the maillot jaune in Paris.
Despite his saga stretching back into 2017, Froome's case has not yet been resolved by the authorities. He could face a ban and be stripped of several results if found guilty, while in recent weeks five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault has called on Froome's competitors to strike if the Team Sky rider turns up in the Vendee region for the Grand Depart.
Tour de France organisers ASO have the right to try and refuse entry to competitors and teams but that unlikely to exercise that option. Speaking on the show Village Médias on Europe 1 on Friday, Prudhomme shared his frustration with the fact that Froome is technically free to race while his case goes through the motions.
"It has to be black or white," Prudhomme said.
"It's terrible that the sporting authorities have not managed to solve this problem before the start of the world's biggest race. I won't say anything more but of course, rules have to be modified.
"An abnormal control doesn't mean anything to a large public. It has to be black or white, positive or negative."
Prudhomme, once a journalist, would not blame the situation on the UCI's president, David Lappartient, who took over the position from Brian Cookson last autumn.
"He has already changed a lot of things but he couldn't change everything", Prudhomme said.
The director of the Tour de France described how he was informed of the Froome case. "On December 13, the radio woke me up. We didn't know anything, as always, even if it's hard to believe. I told myself: "No, really, we won't have to put up with this until the start of the Tour?"
Since he didn't get any reply from the sporting authorities since this announcement, Prudhomme expects to see Froome at the start of the Tour on July 7. "Legally, he can," he concluded.
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The 2018 Tour de France starts on July 9 and concludes on July 29 in Paris. Cyclingnews will have complete live coverage from the race, as well as race analysis, blogs, video highlights and podcasts from the team on the ground.
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