Team Sky back­ing Froome to com­pete amid re­ports of ban

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT -

TEAM SKY are “con­fi­dent” Chris Froome will take part in this year’s Tour de France.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the French news­pa­per Le Monde, race or­gan­is­ers Amaury Sport Or­gan­i­sa­tion have told Team Sky that Bri­tish star Froome will not be al­lowed to race.

Froome’s ap­peal against a drugs test re­mains un­re­solved.

Al­though Froome has al­ways main­tained he did not break any rules, it is re­ported that ASO have taken a stance to pro­tect the race’s im­age. It starts next week­end.

A Team Sky spokesper­son said: “We are con­fi­dent that Chris will be rid­ing the Tour as we know he has done noth­ing wrong.”

Le Monde also re­ported that Team Sky have ap­pealed against the de­ci­sion to the court of ar­bi­tra­tion of the French Olympic Com­mit­tee, with a de­ci­sion ex­pected in the next few days.

Froome is ap­peal­ing against an ad­verse an­a­lyt­i­cal find­ing at last year’s Vuelta a Es­pana. A urine test car­ried out dur­ing the race found a larger than per­mit­ted dose of salbu­ta­mol in his sys­tem.

Froome, who has won the Tour de France four times, is al­lowed to con­tinue com­pet­ing, pend­ing an out­come of his case.

Team Sky have not yet an­nounced their eight-rider team for the Tour. Five-time Tour win­ner Bernard Hin­ault has called on other riders to go on strike if Froome is cleared to com­pete.

Con­nor Swift raced away from the pack to take the men’s road race ti­tle at the Na­tional Road Cham­pi­onships in Stam­ford­ham.

The Madi­son Genesis rider com­pleted the last 13km of the 185.6km course largely un­ac­com­pa­nied after mak­ing a de­ci­sive move, to fin­ish 22 sec­onds ahead of Aqua Blue Sport’s Adam Blythe, with Team Sky’s Owain Doull in third.

The 22-year-old, part of a 17-rider break­away early in the race, held off Blythe’s late chal­lenge to claim vic­tory in 4.19.06.

In the women’s race, Jes­sica Roberts struck late to clinch vic­tory 1.5 sec­onds ahead of Olympic gold medal­list Dani Rowe.

Melissa Lowther at­tacked with 3km of the 106.2km re­main­ing and held an 11-sec­ond lead, but Wales’ Roberts reeled her in and held off Rowe’s chal­lenge, with team-mate El­lie Dickinson cross­ing the line in third place.

CHRIS FROOME: A cloud hangs over the Bri­tish cy­clist ahead of this month’s Tour de France.

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