Team Sky's Chris Froome says being cleared of doping allegations is a 'weight off his shoulders' and he can't wait to get back racing
Chris Froome “understands” why Tour de France organisers moved to block him from competing before an investigation into adverse analytical findings (AAF) of salbutamol in his urine was dropped.
Froome will line up for Saturday’s opening stage in Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile as the three-time defending champion, and seeking a record-equalling fifth title in total.
But far from being welcome at the Tour, race organisers ASO made a formal move to block him prior to Monday’s announcement from the UCI that the probe into his AAF for salbutamol during last year’s La Vuelta had been dropped.
That block has now been lifted, and Froome was keen to move on.
“I can understand the decisions they took,” he said.
The 33-year-old has faced months of scrutiny and uncertainty since he was notified of the AAF in September, with the issue becoming public when it was leaked in December.
Although he has now been cleared of wrongdoing, Froome acknowledged there were some doubters he would never win over.
“Of course it has been damaging,” he said when asked about his reputation. “As it is I’m now happy to draw a line in the sand and move on.”
1:21 Team Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford has praised Chris Froome for his conduct during the recent investigation into allegations of doping
Froome raced under the cloud of the ongoing investigation at the Giro d’Italia in May, but put it to one side as he staged a remarkable comeback in the final week to win the pink jersey.
That victory completed the set as he now holds all three Grand Tour titles at the same time.
Sky team principal Sir Dave Brailsford hailed his star rider for the way he had handled himself throughout.
“This situation has been his worst nightmare but throughout he has maintained his dignity and maintained his performance, winning the Giro and coming here to try to win the double,” he said. “He’s been exceptional.”