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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Chris Froome to defend Tour de France title after being cleared over failed drugs test

The four-time champion's participation had been in doubt but UCI and WADA happy the Briton has no case to answer

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 13, 2017, Great Britain's Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, rides towards the finish line at the end of the 214,5 km twelfth stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Peyragudes. Chris Froome was cleared on July 2, 2018 of wrongdoing in his 'anti-doping' case which had cast a shadow over his participation in the Tour de France. "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that the anti-doping proceedings involving Mr Christopher Froome have now been closed," cycling's ruling body announced. Team Sky's four-time Tour de France champion has been under a cloud since he was found to have twice the permissible amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during September's Vuelta a Espana, which he won. / AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE
(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 13, 2017, Great Britain's Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, rides towards the finish line at the end of the 214,5 km twelfth stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Peyragudes. Chris Froome was cleared on July 2, 2018 of wrongdoing in his 'anti-doping' case which had cast a shadow over his participation in the Tour de France. "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that the anti-doping proceedings involving Mr Christopher Froome have now been closed," cycling's ruling body announced. Team Sky's four-time Tour de France champion has been under a cloud since he was found to have twice the permissible amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during September's Vuelta a Espana, which he won. / AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE

Chris Froome has been cleared of any wrongdoing by world cycling's governing body, the UCI, after an adverse drugs test.

The announcement comes just one day after French media reports that Tour de France organisers were seeking to block Froome from riding in this year's race.

Froome is now free to chase a fifth Tour title, with the race due to start on Saturday.

The four-time Tour de France champion's bid for a fifth title had appeared in serious jeopardy on Sunday when race organisers barred him from competing. But race director Christian Prudhomme has now lifted the ban

A drug test on Froome during last year's Vuelta a Espana found a larger than permitted dose of the asthma drug salbutamol in his system.

In a statement on Monday the UCI said: "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that the anti-doping proceedings involving Mr Christopher Froome have now been closed."

Although Froome's sample was reported to contain a concentration of salbutamol in excess of 1000ng/ml, the UCI said it had closed the case based on World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) advice pertaining to permitted use.

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The UCI added: "The UCI has considered all the relevant evidence in detail (in consultation with its own experts and experts from WADA).

"On 28 June 2018, WADA informed the UCI that it would accept, based on the specific facts of the case, that Mr Froome's sample results do not constitute an AAF [adverse analytical finding].

"In light of WADA's unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA's position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome."

In a statement released via Team Sky, Froome said: "I am very pleased that the UCI has exonerated me.

"While this decision is obviously a big deal for me and the team, it's also an important moment for cycling.

"I understand the history of this great sport - good and bad. I have always taken my leadership position very seriously and I always do things the right way.

"I meant it when I said that I would never dishonour a winner's jersey and that my results would stand the test of time."

Froome added: "I have never doubted that this case would be dismissed for the simple reason that I have known throughout I did nothing wrong.

"I have suffered with asthma since childhood. I know exactly what the rules are regarding my asthma medication and I only ever use my puffer to manage my symptoms within the permissible limits.

"Of course, the UCI had to examine these test results from the Vuelta. Unfortunately, the details of the case did not remain confidential, as they should have done.

"And I appreciate more than anyone else the frustration at how long the case has taken to resolve and the uncertainty this has caused. I am glad it's finally over.

"I am grateful for all the support I have had from the team and from many fans across the world. Today's ruling draws a line. It means we can all move on and focus on the Tour de France."