By Robbie Broughton
Former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond has dismissed the suggestion that the high level of salbutamol found in Chris Froome’s test results at the 2017 Vuelta was due to taking a rapid succession of puffs from his inhaler to prevent coughing in post race interviews.
Speaking to Jeremy Whittle of The Times, he said, “Give me a break. That is the most ridiculous excuse I have ever heard. If this is what he claims, then it’s simple, he broke the rules and should be punished accordingly.”
He went further to suggest that, “The fallacy that salbutamol does not improve performance is only true if you use it as prescribed…Taken orally or by injection it acts as an anabolic steroid, similar to clenbuterol, the drug that Alberto Contador was positive for.”
Casting doubt on the integrity of Team Sky he described the team’s use of TUEs as “bogus” and said, “I don’t believe in Dave Brailsford. He’s secretive, he skirts around questions, and from what I’ve read and hear, the team is not as scientific and knowledgeable as they claim to be…It pains me to hear Brailsford and the team dismiss real science as pseudoscience, always a red flag as far as I’m concerned,” adding that, “As history has shown, when things are too good to be true, they usually are.”
The Times also quoted Dick Pound, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as saying, “There was a surprising number of heroic asthmatics on TUEs…My guess is that the problems in cycling’s credibility are still there.”
Meanwhile Dutch cyclist and Cyclo-cross World Champion Mathieu Van der Poel has said, “Froome should be suspended. It’s a positive test. Maybe asthma patients will believe Froome but this is stupid. Cycling is a sport for healthy people. The UCI allows abuse of certain products.”