Team Sky should take the step of suspending Chris Froome “on a voluntary basis” after the four-time Tour de France winner delivered an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for a high level of salbutamol, according to cycling anti-doping group Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC).
The MPCC said in a statement issued on Monday that Froome’s AAF for the asthma medication has “triggered outrage” and that Froome should not compete before the case has been resolved “to avoid tension among many managers and riders”.
“Chris Froome’s abnormal test result triggered a huge public outrage. When it comes to ‘specified substance’, such as salbutamol, provisional suspension is not mandatory and the rider is free to choose it or not. Nevertheless, MPCC wishes to make a statement on this topic,” the release said on the MPCC’s website.
“Once again, trouble has been brought upon cycling with the suspicion of a violation of the international anti-doping rules. Given all the efforts made to prevent these kind of events from happening, this is regrettable.”
The group says that its rules are there to provide transparency into team practices for “the benefit of all, and to benefit cycling as well.”
The MPCC statement continued: “This is the reason why MPCC and its Board of Directors, without making any assumption towards the final decision, asks Team Sky to suspend its rider on a voluntary basis, until the end of the procedure.
“This measure would allow the rider and its team to focus on their defense with serenity, but also to avoid tension among many managers and riders.”
In addition to calls for Froome to be suspended from racing, the MPCC says that it wants to see the UCI open an inquiry into comments made by former British Cycling coach Shane Sutton after he “admitted that some of the medicine requiring a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) might have been use to enhance performance”.
The MPCC was formed in 2007 with team volunteering to become members and adhere to the group’s stringent anti-doping code.
Seven of the 18 WorldTour teams are currently members of the MPCC: Ag2r, Bora-Hansgrohe Cannondale-Drapac, Dimension Data, FDJ, Lotto-Soudal and Team Sunweb. Team Sky are not members.
According to the UCI’s anti-doping protocol, Froome does not have to be suspended from competition as a result of the AAF.
The UCI itself issued a press release on Monday morning clarifying its anti-doping regulations after some confusion surrounding Froome’s case and the way in which is was being dealt with.
No time frame has been given as to when the case may be resolved.