Chris Froome is facing a potential ban and could be stripped of his Vuelta a Espana title after an 'adverse analytical finding' appeared in a drugs test during the race in September.In what amounts to another major doping controversy for Team Sky, the team released a statement earlier today confirming that the four-times Tour de France champion had double the permitted limit of the asthma drug, salbutamol, in his system after a stage of the three-week Spanish race.It leaves Froome fighting for his reputation when Italian cyclist Alessandro Petacchi was given a 12-month suspension for excessive levels of salbutamol in 2007.Petacchi was stripped of his five stage victories at that year’s Giro D’Italia and Froome could yet lose one half of what was a historic grand Tour double earlier this year.Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules riders are allowed up to 1,000 nanograms per millilitre of the asthma drug but Froome, who is currently on a training camp in Mallorca, was found to have 2000.Sky have now enlisted a team of lawyers and medical experts in a bid to clear their star rider’s name.A statement from Sky said: ‘Chris Froome has responded to a request for information from the UCI, the world governing body for cycling, about his use of medication for asthma during the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.‘This is a process that in normal circumstances would be confidential.However, in light of media interest, we believe it is important that the facts are set out clearly for all.‘Chris has had asthma since childhood and uses an inhaler to take a common medication, salbutamol, to prevent and ease symptoms brought on by exercise.salbutamol is permitted by WADA rules (without the need for a TUE) when inhaled up to a limit of 1,600 micrograms (mcg) over a period of 24 hours and no more than 800mcg over 12 hours.‘The UCI informed Chris that a urine test conducted on 7 September 2017, following Stage 18 of the Vuelta, revealed a concentration of salbutamol which exceeds a threshold that requires him to provide information to confirm that he inhaled no more than the permissible dose.Analysis indicated the presence of salbutamol at a concentration of 2,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml), compared with the WADA threshold of 1,000ng/ml.None of the 20 other urine tests taken by Chris required any further explanation.‘During the final week of the Vuelta, Chris experienced acute asthma symptoms.On the advice of the Team Sky doctor, he used an increased dosage of salbutamol (still within the permissible doses) in the run-up to the 7 September urine test.As race leader, Chris was tested after every stage through this period and he declared his use of the medication as part of the process.‘The notification of the test finding does not mean that any rule has been broken.The finding triggers requests from the UCI which are aimed at establishing what caused the elevated concentration of salbutamol and to ensure that no more than the permissible doses of salbutamol were inhaled.‘The
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