Froome confident of doping scandal vindication

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome insisted on Wednesday he has "done nothing wrong" over the adverse doping sample he gave last September.

Speaking ahead of the start of the Giro d'Italia in Jerusalem on Friday, Froome said, however, that he understood why some people believe he should not be racing.

"I understand everyone's entitled to an opinion, that's perfectly understandable and I can understand as well that a lot of people are frustrated by the lack of information," he said.

"But this is a process that is meant to have been confidential. I'm confident that people will see it from my point of view when all the details are out there."

Froome said he and his Sky team were going to "respect" the confidential process and insisted he would not continue to speak about the issue day after day.

"There's a process in place for me to demonstrate that I've done nothing wrong and that's what I intend to do," he added.

"It's not something I'm going to keep giving a running commentary on, as I've said before.

"When there is something new, then we'll talk about it, but at the moment we're in the middle of that process set out by the UCI."

Froome returned an adverse analytical finding following a stage of the Vuelta a Espana, which he went on to win in September.

He had double the permitted amount of salbutamol -- an asthma medication -- in his urine sample.

- Secret process -

World governing body, the UCI's rules meant he must come up with a valid explanation for the elevated levels or face a suspension.

That process is normally secret and only if it leads to an actual suspension would the UCI make an announcement and reveal the name of the rider concerned.

But the news was leaked by a British and a French newspaper in December.

There have been calls from fellow riders and UCI president David Lappartient for Froome to stand down while awaiting the outcome of his case, which has been dragging on for months.

Froome has refused and continues to insist that he's "done nothing wrong", having claimed he merely took a few extra puffs of his inhaler.

There have been rumours, though, that he might be barred from attempting to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France in July.

Race organisers have implored authorities to settle the case before the Tour to avoid the prospect of it being turned into a circus concentrating on Froome's test more than the event itself.

Froome says he is doing all he can to put the controversy to one side.

"For me, mentally, to be here on the start line, thinking of racing to try and win this race -- I'm not thinking about July, I'm here to give my absolute best for the next three weeks with the aim of trying to stand on that top step once we reach Rome."

It is eight years since Froome last raced in the Giro and back then he was just an up-and-coming rider learning his trade, far from the star he has since become.