We'll know more in 24-hours but there is now no question that if Chris Froome races the Tour de France the entire event will be a total circus overshadowed by the vanity of one team and rider.
Cycling Central
2 Jul 2018 - 9:14 AM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2018 - 12:26 PM

Several months ago, Team Sky, whose reputation was already under question, had a unique opportunity to think beyond the narrow confines of the team bus and do something generous for the sport.

When Froome's positive for excessive levels of the asthma drug Salbutamol at last September's Vuelta a España first came to light, Sky should have read the room and said its biggest rider would remove himself from competition until his case was resolved. 

Sky could have reclaimed some lost credibility. Instead if decided to exhaust even that and doubled down on its siege mentality. Now it's genuinely under siege after it was revealed that ASO will seek to have Froome excluded for the 2018 Tour.

Tour attempts to deny Froome a start
Le Monde newspaper says Tour de France organizers will prevent four-time champion Chris Froome from taking part in this year's race.

Now, to be fair to Sky, the finding was in process and should not have been revealed and according to the rules he does have the right to ride, but that's another story. I'm not arguing here about how many angels dance on the head of a pin in this case, I'll leave that to the doctors and lawyers, but the optics for Sky and the sport in general.

That Sky plays hardball is not in question but there comes a time when that approach will only get you so far. Throughout its recent troubles, the team has relied on often shifting and disingenuous arguments, though always with a basis of legality.

And it's this approach which drives their detractors crazy and pushes the fence sitters over the edge. It's too cute and they always appear to be taking the piss. Playing the ref instead of being transparent.

So here we are today with Tour de France organisers ASO taking a stand in an effort to save its race from Sky's vanity. And there is a lot riding on this showdown.

Sky has always appeared to think of itself as bigger than the sport but it now has to contend with an organisation which is literally that. ASO has always been the elephant in the room in cycling and when pressed often gets its way. 

SBS will broadcast the Tour de France live in HD from 7-29 July. 

ASO did not take this step lightly. It fully understands the reputational damage it will sustain if Froome races and the power it will lose if Sky wins on appeal.

What ASO has now done is make the 2018 Tour parcours a scorched earth for Sky. If Froome races it will be with the knowledge he's not wanted. And every day he's there it will get worse for him and the team. More so if Sky is in control of the race. 

And where is UCI president David Lappartient in all this? Hiding under his desk in Aigle hoping it all goes away while ASO does the dirty work for him. An empty suit.

The roadside fans will be in a filthy mood every time a Sky rider passes perhaps leading to a few unpleasant interactions. Then there is the danger that those of us at home will just tune out, some never to return.

There will be no winner if Froome races. Perhaps literally if the eventual resolution of his case goes against him and his recent results annulled.

So where does that leave Sky? The team is cooked no matter what. They now have zero credibility because ASO has now totally denied them any that was left. They are a team without an ethical centre. A reflection of the men who run it.

The only course of action for Sky is to eat some humble pie, put selfishness aside and remove Froome from its lineup. For the good of the sport.

Given its past behaviour, I don't hold any hope this will happen. We'll know more on Tuesday.