Lizzie Deignan has said that Chris Froome has not had a ‘fair process’ in his salbutamol case, adding that his reputation has been irreparably tarnished. Deignan also criticised the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) for not doing more to protect her own reputation after she was cleared of three whereabouts failings.
Froome is currently under investigation after an anti-doping control conducted during the 2017 Vuelta a Espana returned an elevated level of salbutamol. Froome was notified of the findings in late September but the case was made public in December. Deignan says that the leak should not have happened.
“He hasn’t had a fair process because already people have made up their minds, unfortunately, and that is based on the not full story,” Deignan told sports journalist Orla Chennaoui in her ‘When Orla met’ podcast.
“Unfortunately for Chris his reputation is tarnished and will be forever. Whether he’s innocent or not, it’s kind of irrelevant to some people at this stage. A leak in a legal process should never happen.
“A rider should be protected because inevitably there will be things that happen, grey areas that should be looked at logically, scientifically, and analysed in court. That’s an inevitable part of having asthma and taking an inhaler and I think unfortunately he hasn’t had a fair process.”
Froome is allowed to continue to race under UCI rules because salbutamol is a specified substance. After winning the Giro d’Italia he intends to target a fifth Tour de France in July.
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