However, this is where things don’t add up. A year ago I wrote a column with the title The Colombian’s Jersey of Honor in which I described the shame of USA cycling after the dismantling of Lance Armstrong’s–seven times champion of the Tour de France–network of systematic doping and deceit.
Sadly, last week, at the start of the 2018 edition of this prime competition, cycling was again wrapped in a veil of doubt caused by the doping suspicion of the current and four times champion of the tour, Chris Froome.
On July 2nd, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) announced their decision to end the investigation of the British star’s use of salbutamol. Last December, at the stage number 18 of the Vuelta a España, the cyclist’s sample registered levels that doubled the allowed limit of the bronchodilator.
According to an article of Cycling News, when the story broke, Froome refused to follow the suggestion from the UCI President, David Lappartient, to suspend racing until the investigation had finalized. On the contrary, the Briton competed and won the Giro d’Italia and he is on route to win his fifth title in France.
At the time of the problematic test results, Froome and Team Sky justified the use of salbutamol due to the cyclist’s asthma he has had since childhood. The limit allowed of this substance by the cycling authorities is 1.600 micro-grams in 24 hours–which equals to 9 inhalations every 2.6 hours.
However, this is where things don’t add up. My seven-year-old son has been asthmatic since he was two, and he has required that type of dosage, several times when he is in a full bloomed asthma attack. It always ends with a night at the emergency room and steroids treatment that usually lasts a week to subside the airways inflammation.
So, I ask, how was Chris Froome able to stay on a bicycle competing at one of the most challenging races in the world? When my son is that sick, his breathing pattern doesn’t allow him to finish a full sentence when he is in rest mode.
Undoubtedly I can’t compare the stamina of the champion with my son’s, much less the level of competition and his career. Nonetheless, these are the reasons why fans have turned against him and the sport in France and around the world.
In my home country, we say “nothing is hidden between heaven and earth“, meaning if Froome is cheating, the truth will come out one day. But the most questionable actions are not his, but the authorities UCI and WADA’s. They are so adamant at preventing another scandal such as Armstrong’s that they are turning away from Chris Froome allowing him to compete without any sanctions.
For the moment, all I can do is to continue supporting my fellow Colombians, Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Uran, and Fernando Gaviria among others competing at Le Tour de France.
Thank you for reading and sharing.
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