(AFP) – Bernard Hinault has called on riders at this year’s race to strike in protest at the presence of “cheat” Chris Froome, who has found himself in the doping spotlight after an adverse test.
Froome was found to have twice the permissible amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during Vuelta a Espana, which he won, before also winning Giro d’Italia, becoming the first man to hold all three Grand Tours at once since Hinault in 1983.
The British champion insists he has not broken any rules, but Hinault says he is a cheat and as cycling authorities dither, rider power should now be exerted.
“If the international authorities don’t sanction him it’s up to the other cyclists to shoulder the responsibility,” Hinault told AFP. “If the racers accept a cheat on the race then that’s their problem!”
Hinault challenged the peloton to strike on the opening day of the 2018 Tour, a ride from Noirmoutier to Fontenay-le-Comte along the Atlantic coast on July 7.
“The peloton should just stop and strike, saying ‘if he’s on it, we’re not’. 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,” he said.
“Contador payed the price for the same thing, he was suspended, but him (Froome) nothing,” said Hinault said in reference to Spaniard Alberto Contador being banned after testing positive for clenbuterol and being stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title.
“Ventoline might not be much, and maybe its not what made him win the Vuelta, but the rules are the rules, and they should be applied to everyone.”
International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient told French regional newspaper Le Telegramme in January Froome’s team should withdraw him.
“Without wishing to comment on the rider’s guilt, it would be easier for everyone if Sky will suspend him, Lappartient said. “It’s up to (Sky team manager Dave) Brailsford to take his responsibilities.”