The Giro d’Italia is in no mood to have another rider race while under investigation and facing a possible suspension.
Referring to the Chris Froome situation, RCS Sport cycling director Mauro Vegni says that such an incident like that with Alberto Contador in 2011 “must no longer be repeated.”
Contador, under investigation for a clenbuterol positive anti-doping control at the Tour de France, raced the Giro and won.
That 2011 title was stripped later and given to Michele Scarponi when officials issued Contador a ban.
“I firmly believe that Contador’s was a unique affair, which must no longer be repeated,” Vegni told Tutto Bici website.
“Cycling can not afford such a situation: if a cyclist can race, he has the right to do so in full power, to win or lose with certainty. And I believe that in this case, the UCI must assume its responsibilities.”
The UCI and Froome are discussing the high 2000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) reading of asthma drug salbutamol from the Vuelta a España. The limit for the drug is 1000.
Froome will have to show there was an error or physiological reason for the high reading to avoid a suspension. The case could rumble on for some time with any UCI ban likely to be followed by an appeal from Froome’s camp to the CAS high court of sports.
The case bursts the pink balloons that floated so high just a couple of weeks ago when Vegni announced at the 2018 Giro route presentation that Froome would attend.
“Of course, it’s never nice when you have to resort to a courtroom or a research laboratory,” Vegni said of Froome’s fight. “I think it is right and sacrosanct to maintain a high level of attention to ensure maximum credibility to cycling.
“From our position as one of the largest organisers in the world, I say that it is the timing of the story that leaves me perplexed.
“Perhaps we are simply unlucky, but as soon as we announce with great fanfare the presence of Froome at the next Giro … boom, the sky falls.”
Froome, according to a Cycling Weekly insider, is set to receive around €2 million from the Giro and organiser of the Big Start in Israel for racing the 2018 edition.
Any deal, which Vegni denies, would have been hatched with Team Sky already knowing about Froome’s high test for salbutamol.