Bernard Hinault calls on Tour de France riders to strike over Chris Froome's participation

Hinault hits out at Froome again as he prepares to target a fifth Tour title

Bernard HInault has

(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

French cycling great Bernard Hinault has called on the Tour de France to strike over Chris Froome's planned participation in the race starting July 7 from Vendée.

Hinault already spoke strongly against Froome over his Vuelta a España asthma drug result. Froome tested above the allowed limit for salbutamol on the way to winning the 2017 Vuelta. The case is ongoing and meanwhile, the Brit is free to race

Froome and Team Sky have denied any wrongdoing.

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"If the international authorities don't sanction him it's up to the other cyclists to shoulder the responsibility," Hinault told AFP.

The Tour begins with a flat road stage to Fontenay-le-Comte. Hinault, who won the race five times and worked with ASO until retiring last year, would rather see the riders put their feet down than accept Froome riding alongside them.

"The peloton should just stop and strike, saying 'if he's on it, we're not,'" Hinault added.

"The peloton is being too nice. We condemned others, everyone agreed, but him, are you telling me it's because you call this is an adverse finding [instead of a positive one] this is just not right.

"Contador paid the price for the same thing, he was suspended, but him [Froome] nothing."

Contador eventually served a ban for the clenbuterol found in his control during the 2010 Tour de France. It was after he won the 2011 Giro d'Italia and placed fifth in the Tour de France, results that were stripped with the ban.

Asthma drug salbutamol and other specified substances fall under different rules because they are allowed to certain limits. These rules also allow riders to keep competing while the case is played out.

"Ventoline [a brand name for salbutamol] might not be much, and maybe its not what made him win the Vuelta," Hinault added. "But the rules are the rules, and they should be applied to everyone."

Froome won the Giro d'Italia in May and is racing for the rare Giro/Tour double and a fifth Tour title to match the record held by Hinault and three others.

Hinault previously blasted Froome, saying at the end of the Giro that he should not have raced and is not one of the cycling legends. It brought a response from Johan Bruyneel, former US Postal/Discovery Channel manager with Lance Armstrong. Both are serving bans after the 2012 report into the team's doping.

"My greatest respect for what you did as a champion, you were and you remain the huge idol," Bruyneel wrote on Twitter. "Nevertheless: Wouldn't it be wiser to shut your big mouth? Monsieur short memory."

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Bernhard, known as 'The Badger', fired back, "Bruyneel told me to close my mouth, that would mean that he protects those who cheat! He can shut up, because with what he did with Armstrong, he'd better shut up."

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