Vincenzo Nibali, second in the 2017 Vuelta, has reacted to the news that Chris Froome has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for Salbutamol during the Spanish Grand Tour.
“I read the news and the reaction of Chris and his team. It’s too early to express a thought,” he told Tuttobiciweb.
Nibali revealed he also suffers with asthma.
“On those days it was raining in Spain, so it is difficult to suffer from asthma. I have the same problem, but when it rains, the pollen don’t bother me and I don’t even need to use the inhalator of Ventolin (Salbutamol).”
The Bahrain-Merida rider was second at the Vuelta a España behind Froome.
“Certainly it is very bad news for the sport and also for me. If that positive gets confirmed, no one will give me the thrill of winning the Vuelta and getting on the top step of the podium in Madrid.”
The UCI said in a statement it had notified Froome on Sept. 20 of an ‘Adverse Analytical Finding” from his sample, which had double the permissible limit of Salbutamol.
Froome’s spectacular year is now under a cloud and he and his Sky team will need to convince the UCI that there was nothing sinister about the amount of Salbutamol that showed up in his urine sample after Stage 18 on Sept. 7.
Salbutamol is permitted as a legal asthma drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the UCI said Froome’s failed urine test did not necessitate a mandatory provisional suspension.
But riders have been banned for excessive use of it in the past, notably Italian Alessandro Petacchi who was given a 12-month ban and stripped of his five stage victories in the 2007 Giro d’Italia.