Froome welcomes 24-hour testing

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Published: Thursday 12th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Tour de France winner Chris Froome has welcomed 24-hour drug testing in cycling.

Froome’s comments come in the wake of a damning report by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission to address doping in the sport and criticism from Olympic champion Nicole Cooke that the 2013 Tour de France winner was allowed a therapeutic use exemption to compete at the Tour de Romandie last year.

“I for one welcome 24hr testing. It may be an inconvenience but if it can help clean up the sport that I love lets do it,” Froome said on his official Twitter account.

Cooke has called on cycling’s governing body, the UCI, to do more to police the “disturbing grey area” of TUEs and believes Team Sky rider Froome should not have been granted a TUE for a powerful corticosteroid to compete at the 2014 Tour de Romandie after complaining of chest pains.

The former Olympic and world road-race champion who retired from cycling two years ago, wrote in The Guardian that UCI president Brian Cookson should apologise to the rest of the riders in the race for failing them.

“I don’t think it is at all right that Chris should have the race and prize money taken off him retrospectively, but Cookson needs to issue a very clear message: he should be apologising to the rest of the riders for failing them,” Cooke said.

“That TUE application should not have been approved; Froome and Sky should have had a clear choice of either riding without steroids or pulling out.

“I never found I could be anywhere near the front of a long race when I was ill.”

The CIRC report, published on Monday, showed how the culture and previous practices of the UCI allowed Lance Armstrong to cheat, including the retrospective issuing of a TUE to cover up a positive test at the 1999 Tour de France.

When the granting of Froome’s TUE came to light last June, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency said procedures had been properly followed.

But Cooke feels Cookson should not leave himself open to a situation where he could be accused of favouring a Sky rider – “the Sky team of which Cookson was a founding board member,” she said.

However, Cookson said the rules had subsequently been tightened to ensure all TUE applications went through an independent committee.

“Ms Cooke’s accusation is simply wrong,” said Cookson, who since ousting Pat McQuaid as UCI president has overseen the CIRC report that sought to shed light on cycling’s darkest days and introduced new anti-doping measures.

“I made it a firm pledge that I would separate myself from all anti-doping processes, specifically to avoid any potential conflict of interest, both for me personally and for the UCI in its role as governing body for the sport.

“And I have lived up to that pledge.

“When it came to our attention that we were following an outdated procedure, we looked again at our processes and in order to ensure absolute integrity.

“The UCI confirmed in June 2014 that all TUE decisions must pass through the TUE Committee and be approved by three members unanimously, which is a stronger commitment than what is required by the international standard for therapeutic use exemptions.

“This has added an extra layer of accountability to the decision-making process.”

Published: Thursday 12th March 2015 by The News Editor

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