• UCI President David Lappartient. (Getty)Source: Getty
The UCI says an investigation into four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome's irregular drug sample should be finished before the Giro d'Italia.
Cycling Central

18 Jan 2018 - 3:45 AM 

The salbutamol affair surrounding four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome should be settled before the start of the Giro d'Italia in May, UCI president David Lappartient said in an interview on Wednesday.

Froome returned an abnormal drug test result during his victory in last year's Spanish Vuelta, which he won, in September.

His samples showed double the permitted level of the asthma drug salbutamol.

"Froome is not a rider like every other," governing body chief Lappartient told Switzerland's Neuen Zuericher Zeitung.

"He has more money. He can bring more experts to speak out for him. He can submit more exculpatory documents.

"We cannot simply sweep the statements off the table. It's time to solve the case quickly, but to uphold the driver's rights."

Lappartient, however, also showed understanding for Tony Martin who had been critical of the UCI in the case and questioned why Froome was not immediately suspended.

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As salbutamol is not a completely banned substance, the UCI must give Froome the chance to explain the finding rather than issue a provisional ban.

"There has been no special treatment for Froome," Lappartient said. "We have explained that to Martin."

Froome has had asthma since childhood and his Sky team said he took increased medication, within the permitted amount, in the days running up to the test.

The 32-year-old made history in September when he became the first rider to win the Vuelta and Tour de France in the same year since Bernard Hinault did so in 1978.

Should he win the Giro, which begins 6 May in Jerusalem, he would be the first cyclist to have victories in all three grand tours.

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