The British champion keeps his 2017 Vuelta a Espana title and is now free to defend his yellow jersey
Britain’s Chris Froome is free to defend his yellow jersey at this year’s Tour de France after cycling’s governing body dropped the anti-doping case against him.
The four-time Le Tour champion has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the UCI following a year of controversy that has surrounded an adverse result on a drugs test he took in 2017.
An anti-doping test on Froome during last year’s Vuelta a Espana – which he won – 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.”
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.
He also keeps his 2017 Vuelta red jersey, meaning he remains the holder of all three Grand Tour titles, having won the Giro d’Italia in May.
The UCI said the verdict on clearing Froome was “based on expert opinions”.
The Brit, who came under heavy criticism during the case, said he was “grateful and relieved” to close the matter.
Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford also backed Froome and insisted he always ‘had total confidence in Chris and his integrity’.
In a statement issued by Team Sky, the 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.
“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.”
Team Sky principle Brailsford added: “We have always had total confidence in Chris and his integrity.
“We knew that he had followed the right medical guidance in managing his asthma at the Vuelta and were sure that he would be exonerated in the end, which he has been. This is why we decided that it was right for Chris to continue racing, in line with UCI rules, while the process was ongoing. We are pleased that it has now been resolved.
“Chris has proved he is a great champion – not only on the bike but also by how he has conducted himself during this period. It has not been easy, but his professionalism, integrity and good grace under pressure have been exemplary and a credit to the sport.”