Chris Froome has denied a report that he is looking to negotiate a short ban rather than fight to prove his innocence after returning an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol during last year’s La Vuelta.
Froome, who won that race, has not automatically tested positive but must provide a satisfactory explanation for having twice the permitted level of the substance in a urine test, or the Team Sky rider could face a lengthy ban and would lose his Vuelta title and the bronze he took in the time trial at the world championships in September.
The four-time Tour de France winner could argue his case by taking a series of laboratory tests to try to recreate the conditions under which he returned the adverse finding, and prove that it could have happened even if he did not take more than the permitted dose of the drug.
A report in Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera late on Monday claimed Froome, 32, was ready to admit negligence in the case, and that his wife Michelle had hired a mediator as the rider looked to negotiate a shorter ban with the UCI.
The report said Froome would accept a ban which would allow him to race this year’s Giro d’Italia and Tour de France as planned - rather than risk taking the tests but failing to prove his case, which would expose him to a much longer suspension.
However, in a tweet on Tuesday morning, Froome said: “I have seen the report in Corriere della Serra this morning - it’s completely untrue.”