Win or lose, you have to respect A.S.O., the organization runs the Tour de France. They don’t think Chris Froome should be in their race because of his twice-the-limit failed test for salbutamol.
While the Giro d’Italia lamented Fromme’s legal issue, they paid him a handsome sum to ride the Giro and said nothing about second thoughts. Froome raced the Italian tour and, unbelievably, he won the race. That was a lot of very bad press for the sport of cycling.
But then came the Tour de France and with the UCI still unable to provide any resolution after ten months — and unwilling to invoke their own “ethics” clause, Tour boss Christian Prudhomme said enough is enough.
Now, things will get even crazier with the Tour de France starting in the Vendee region on July 7th. Froome and his lawyer, A.S.O. and their lawyer and the UCI and their lawyer will all lawyer up for a showdown this Tuesday with the National Olympic Committee of French Sport.
That legal body will furnish a ruling the day after, on Wednesday, and should Froome lose, the whole thing goes immediately to the Court for Arbitration in Sport, where we will move into even more bizarre territory.
The question for us here at Twisted Spoke is whether the Tour de France can prevent Froome from riding if they win in the Olympic Committee for French Sport but then Froome — and Team Sky– insist on a ruling from CAS. What happens then?
Meanwhile, Sky plan B Geraint Thomas must be thinking in the back of his mind, “Hmmm, it really wound’t be a terrible thing if my old friend Froome gets booted and I’m suddenly Plan A.”
Here’s the part where we say that we’ve aways felt that Froome was an honest, stand-up guy but we still think he shouldn’t be racing. It’s incredibly damaging for the sport and the fact that Froome and Team Sky put themselves above the good of that sport is both telling and damning.
In our view, one way or another, even if it takes well into 2019, Froome will lose his salbutamol case and will be stripped of his Vuelta a Espana title. He should have admitted to an honest mistake in taking to much of his asthma medication as he desperately tried to hold onto his lead in the Vuelta.
Sadly, his arrogance and sense of entitlement would not allow him to just take a short, reduced ban. Instead he has held the sport hostage for ten months and dragged this doping story through the mud. Given all the awful things that pro cycling is trying to recover from pos- Lance Armstrong, that’s a clueless and inexcusable attitude.
We say that win or lose, chapeau to A.S.O. and Tour boss Christian Prudhomme for having the courage to put the reputation and integrity of the sport first. Bonne chance.