Froome’s white salbutamol flag

Tell him, Michelle

Has Puff Daddy raised the white flag?

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Chris Froome is ready to capitulate in hopes of a shorter suspension. First reaction: this is the Gazzetta, which might as well be Italian for “unsubstantiated rumor.” Froome himself has already tweeted that he’s seen this report in the newspaper and “it’s completely untrue.” Which means absolutely nothing one way or the other, because, well, this is pro cycling.

According to La Gazzetta, Froome “has understood he has lost the war and is ready to sign an honorable armistice”. So yes, World War I is over and the lawyers can come out of the trenches and by the way, take off those silly gas masks.

It seems that Froome’s wife Michelle is actually giving him valuable, real-world advice, not some far-fetched kidney malfunction strategy that strains credulity and pisses off UCI scientists. Good for Michelle for telling her husband the hard truth.

The rumor that La Gazzetta is floating is that Froome will accept the fact that he took an excessive doe of salbutamol in return for a six to nine month ban which would allow him, depending on back-dating, to ride the Giro d’Italia and/or Tour de France.

It’s your basic plea bargain, summed up in UCI parlance as an ‘Acceptance of Consequences’. The story goes on to claim that the couple have engaged a high-profile mediator to work a deal with the UCI. That sounds expensive and complicated but hey, you live in Monaco with the high rollers. That’s just a few losing nights in the casino, right?

However, Jonathan Vaughters, head man at EF Education First–Drapac, has already debunked that shorter ban idea, saying that if the UCI didn’t hand out at least a one year ban, WADA would appeal.

Cycling Weekly was also quick to note that the backdating of Froome’s suspension to that fateful day in the Vuelta a Espana would be impossible. In point of fact, the ban for this doping violation would start on the day Froome accepts that he’s responsible for his Adverse Analytical Finding. Cue sound of shit hitting fan.

Apparently Froome has come to the conclusion that it would be extremely difficult to explain to the UCI how he hit 2000ng/ml of salbutamol– twice the legal limit – with the normal use of his asthma inhaler. Yes, he will lose his Vuelta a Espana title and the silver medal from the Worlds but he wouldn’t spend a year in legal Hell and still come out on the losing end, his reputation and bank account damaged. Reputation destroyed but you still have your savings.

However, La Gazzetta did not address if Team Sky would fire Froome based on their strident zero tolerance policy for doping violations. Yes, Froome would accept the UCI consequences but what will be the consequences at Sky? Will Froome be out on the street without a Pinarello to his name? No word from Sky, who have gone silent, as they search for strange yet clever kidney-based explanations.

We just attempted to read all 380 comments based on this story, as reported by cyclingnews. It’s quite a read and we probably only hit 150. Nobody believes Froome, few think he’ll be lucky enough to get six months and most think nine at least. It sucks to be Froome-dog right now.

At least he has Michelle in his corner.

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