Froome case is a ‘blow’ to Wada’s credibility
The handling of Chris Froome’s asthma drug case is a “blow” to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s credibility, says US Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart.
Froome was under investigation after more than the allowed level of legal drug salbutamol was found in his urine.
Wada accepted there was no breach and cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, dropped the case on 2 July after nine months.
Tygart told BBC Sport he believes there is a “lack of transparency” over that decision.
“The question is whether justice was truly served or did a star get an undeserved break,” he said.
“Unfortunately it’s another blow to the perceived credibility of the global anti-doping movement.”
Wada and the UCI have released some details of Froome’s case but Tygart, who led the investigation that saw former cyclist Lance Armstrong banned for life for doping, said without knowing exactly how the decision was reached, the case is “another shard that has damaged the credibility of Wada”.
Tygart added the lack of clarity was unfair to Froome, as it left the four-time Tour de France winner facing the “worst-case scenario” where he is “caught” between being seen as having benefitted from his high profile, even if his reputation has perhaps been “unfairly tarnished”.
“You can never un-ring that bell and it’s why more answers have to be provided so that people have confidence that he’s not just a star who got away with it - that’s a natural conclusion,” he said.
“Athletes should not be accused or it be inferred that they’re not clean until proven through the established process and that didn’t happen here and he deserves the benefit of that presumption of innocence.”
Froome returned a level of salbutamol 19% over the decision limit of 1,200 nanograms per millilitre, when adjusted for dehydration.
Wada rules allow for an athlete to try to prove they exceeded the threshold without taking more than the permitted dose through a laboratory test, called a controlled pharmacokinetic study, but Froome did not have to, with Wada acknowledging “it would be impossible to adequately recreate similar conditions” to when he took the test during his Vuelta a Espana win in September.
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