"50 per cent or less" chance of case being wrapped up by July, says UCI president.
Having won the Giro in spectacular fashion with an 80km solo break on stage 19 to overturn a three minute deficit in the general classification, Froome will now turn his attention to the Tour and completing a historic Grand Tour double that has not been achieved in 20 years.
And according to UCI president David Lappartient, Froome will likely take part in the Tour, which starts in Noirmoitier-en-l’Ile on July 7, with a conclusion to the investigation into his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol yet to be reached.
“I do not think a decision will come before the Tour,” Lappartient told Spanish sports newspaper AS. “I think the chances of it being decided by then are 50 per cent or less.
“It is a very complex case with lots of lawyers, a lot of documentation and a lot of money involved. We will make the decision as soon as possible, but there is no time frame.
“The procedure will be extended. Our question must be answered and their studies will have to be evaluated. Both sides have powerful legal representatives and everything is more complicated than usual.”
Froome is currently under investigation by anti-doping authorities after giving a urine sample at the 2017 Vuelta a España which was found to contain twice the permitted concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol.
The 33-year-old has denied breaking anti-doping rules which allow athletes to take a maximum of 800mg of salbutamol per 12 hours, and, with Team Sky‘s backing, has vowed to clear his name.
The four-time Tour de France champion was welcomed by Giro d’Italia organisers, reportedly receiving a large appearance fee for taking part in the race. However he is unlikely to receive such a positive reception by Tour de France organisers ASO.
In fact, ASO are understood to be confident that they could withstand a potential legal challenge if it prevent Froome from racing thanks to a clause in its rules about safeguarding the image of the sport.
If Froome is allowed to race the Tour de France, then he will not only be looking to be the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the Giro and the Tour in the same year, but also to become just the fifth rider in history to win five Tours de France.