Tour de France Champ Chris Froome Tests Positive For Drug, Says Asthma To Blame

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome says he followed medical advice by taking an increased dosage of asthma medication that led to him failing a drug test during his Vuelta a Espana win in September. The news emerged on December 13.

UCI, cycling's world governing body, has asked for more details from Team Sky after notifying the Briton of an "adverse analytical finding" from a blood sample taken after Stage 18 of the race. Froome had double the allowed level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine.

The 32-year-old has not been suspended but has already commented, saying that it was within the legal limits but that it is "absolutely right" that the UCI investigates.

"It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are," Froome said.

"I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms [always within the permissible limits] and I know for sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader's jersey.

"My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor's advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose."

Froome's victory in the three-week race in Spain saw him become the first Briton to win the Vuelta just two months after winning his fourth Tour de France. The rider was told about the findings on September 20.

The UCI said in a statement: "The analysis of the B sample has confirmed the results of the rider's A sample and the proceedings are being conducted in line with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules."

Chris Froome
Chris Froome at the 72nd edition of 'La Vuelta' Tour of Spain cycling race, in Madrid, Spain, September 10. Froome says he took an increased dose of asthma medication. JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford insisted they would be cooperating to the fullest extent with the UCI.

"There are complex medical and physiological issues which affect the metabolism and excretion of Salbutamol," he said. "We're committed to establishing the facts and understanding exactly what happened on this occasion.

"I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol. Of course, we will do whatever we can to help address these questions."