Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford has urged critics to “get a bit of perspective” as he vouched for Chris Froome‘s innocence in his ongoing anti-doping investigation ahead of Froome’s return to action at the Ruta del Sol.
Speaking ahead of the start of the opening stage of the five-stage race in southern Spain, Brailsford defended his rider, and said that he was looking forward to proving that Froome and Team Sky had not broken anti-doping rules after a urine test at the Vuelta a España found that Froome had twice the permitted concentration of salbutamol in his urine.
This in itself is not against the rules, but Froome and Team Sky must now prove that the high concentration of salbutamol in Froome’s urine was not as a result of exceeding the maximum permitted dosage of 1600 micrograms over 24 hours in divided doses not to exceed 800 micrograms over 12 hours starting from any dose.
“Let’s keep a bit of perspective here; what we’re talking about is an inhaler. It’s a puffer,” Brailsford said at the start line in Mijas, as reported by Sky Sports.
“How many times is he allowed to use his puffer? You’re allowed to use it 16 times in 24 hours and of course the question here is ‘did he use it more than that?’
“The rules aren’t about the urine, or the levels in the urine, the rules are about how many times you take your puffer.
“It has been proven that even if you take your puffer less than the amounts which you’re entitled to you can excrete more than the threshold in your urine. It has been proven time and time again, it can happen.
“If that does happen, the rules are around the number of times of use and I can guarantee you he hasn’t gone over the use.”
Reports emerged in January that Froome’s defence team would argue that the adverse analytical finding was caused by a malfunction in Froome’s kidneys. However Brailsford was not to be drawn on the possible arguments that the team could use in the case, simply saying that he was looking forward to proving that Froome and Team Sky had not broken any rules.
“We do need to get to the bottom of it,” Brailsford continued. “We do need to understand it, but it is not this great calamity of a doping story which people are trying to make out. It is a pretty straightforward scenario.
“Going forward I’m sure we’ll be able to demonstrate to everybody that he absolute stuck within the rules.”