Everyone else has an opinion on the Chris Froome salbutamol situation. Here’s ours…
(1) IT ISN’T EVEN CLOSE
Okay, we get it. Mistakes happen. But for any rider to register TWICE the legally accepted amount of a WADA-monitored substance in their body is rather a lot. At best it’s sloppy and unprofessional. At worst it’s cheating. Either way, not good enough.
(2) CURIOUS TIMING
To us it’s really interesting timing that this story broke just a week after ex-UCI boss Brian Cookson came out publicly calling for the reputations of Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins to be cleared. Coincidence? We’re inclined to think not.
(3) FRONT FOOT
Team Sky’s media release overnight may be seen by some as leadership. But let’s not kid ourselves. It’s crisis management 101. They knew the story was about to break so decided to beat the media to it i.e. control the story rather than respond to it.
(4) SHIT HAPPENS
In some ways we feel genuinely sorry for Froome. To suffer a serious bout of asthma when leading a Grand Tour is a real pisser, no question. But sometimes in life shit happens at the worst possible time for us all, and we just have to deal with it. Why should pro cyclists be any different? If the only way to win the race is to push the rules to the absolute limits (and over them by 200% in this case), maybe you shouldn’t be in the race?
(5) GLASS HOUSES ARE FRAGILE
We’ve banged on about this before. Maybe Froome is guilty, maybe he’s not. Either way, a vast swathe of the crap flying about in the media right now is the teams’ own doing. It stems from the perceived hypocrisy given Team Sky’s constant ‘whiter than white’ proclamations over the years. If they’d have kept their traps shut and just got on with racing, much of this feeding frenzy would be far less intense.
(6) NICE GUY, SO WHAT?
Ask anyone who saw him at L’Etape two weekends ago. Froome seems a lovely chap. But that should have no bearing whatsoever on what happens now. Italy’s Diego Ulissi received a 9-month ban for registering abnormally high salbutamol levels (yet still lower than Froome’s) two seasons back. There are other precedents too. Given this it’s hard to see how the UCI can justify anything less than some kind of ban.