Romain Bardet, who has finished third and second at the last two editions of the Tour de France, has said Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at the Vuelta a Espana has called the sport's credibility into question.
Froome won the 2017 Vuelta having added a fourth Tour to his palmares in July. His Tour-Vuelta double was an unprecedented achievement in the modern era although his Vuelta win could be taken away from the Team Sky rider following his AAF.
2000ng/ml of asthma medication salbutamol, double the permissible amount, was found in Froome's urine in an anti-doping test after stage 18 of the 2017 Vuelta a España, on September 7. Team Sky principal David Brailsford said the team will co-operate with the UCI to establish the cause of Froome's elevated concentration.
Bardet, who also raced the Vuelta and finished in 17th place overall, made his comments during a World Cup biathlon event in France.
"This is not good news for cycling," Bardet said according to Agence France-Presse. "Pretty much everyone gets hit by something like this, cycling's credibility first and foremost."
Bardet has previously spoken of the public's suspicion of cycling due to previous doping scandals and its damage to the sport. With Froome and Team Sky facing an uncertain winter with the onus on the Briton to prove he did not exceed the permitted dosage, Bardet called for a resolution sooner rather than later to help the sport's image improve.
"Let's hope that a swift and objective probe can clarify the facts and leave no doubts about what happened," he added.
Vuelta runner-up Vincenzo Nibali has also spoken of Froome's AAF, calling the case "bad news for cycling", while four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin used stronger words in referring to the matter as a "scandal".
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