Chris Froome has vowed to provide whatever information is required by the UCI about his use of medication for asthma during the 2017 Vuelta a Espana after a urine test revealed a concentration of Salbutamol double the WADA threshold.
Team Sky said in a statement that Froome experienced “acute asthma symptoms” during the final week of the Vuelta and increased his dosage of Salbutamol, within permissible limits, on doctor’s advice.
The four-time Tour de France winner conducted a urine test on September 7 which revealed a concentration of Salbutamol of 2,000 nanograms, twice the WADA threshold of 1,000.
The Team Sky statement said the “use of permissible dosages of Salbutamol can sometimes result in elevated urinary concentrations, which require explanation”.
Froome said: “The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires.”
The UCI released a statement detailing information about Froome’s failed drugs test.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that British rider Christopher Froome was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of Salbutamol in excess of 1000ng/ml (*) in a sample collected during the Vuelta a Espana on 7 September 2017,” the statement read.
“The rider was notified of the AAF on 20 September 2017. The anti-doping control was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling.
“The analysis of the B sample has confirmed the results of the rider’s A sample and the proceedings are being conducted in line with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.
“As a matter of principle, and whilst not required by the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI systematically reports potential anti-doping rule violations via its website when a mandatory provisional suspension applies. Pursuant to Article 7.9.1. of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the presence of a Specified Substance such as Salbutamol in a sample does not result in the imposition of such mandatory provisional suspension against the rider.
“At this stage of the procedure, the UCI will not comment any further on this matter.”
Reflecting on the year that “changed my whole life”, Yousif Mirza believes he has proved he belongs on the biggest stage and is determined to reach cycling’s top level.
The UAE Team Emirates rider finished second behind Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish at the inaugural Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Classic in a time of 4:31:49.
The 29-year-old finished inches behind sprint king Cavendish and was joined on the podium by Italian teammate Roberto Ferrari, who finished third, with fellow UAE Team Emirates rider Manuele Mori also close behind in a field of 200.
Mirza became the first Emirati to ride for a UCI WorldTour team in 2017, a campaign in which he gained relative success. He won the UAE National Road Championship for a fourth straight year and also claimed victory in the individual time trial.
He finished 13th in the General Classification at February’s Dubai Tour, while outside the UAE he finished second in the road race at the Asian Cycling Championships in Bahrain, was 14th at June’s Hammer Sportzone Limburg in the Netherlands and finished 18th on the opening stage of the Colorado Classic in August.
“I am happy with my 2017 season, sure. And I have more to do,” said Mirza, who feels he acclimatised to the higher echelon of cycling as the season wore on.
“It is my first year as a professional. At the start of the season I was a little bit scared, I didn’t know how to deal with the situation but this year will be my second and it will be different, for sure. I will do my best to reach the top level in cycling.
“I now have one year in the team. It is one year that has changed my whole life. You have to do a lot of things, not just training and racing, it is the professional level, but it has been a good experience for me and I try my best, always.”
🇦🇪 @yousifmirza : to ride in a professional event like this on home soil was a real treat and it was very encouraging to see such a buzz around my sport in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Thanks all for your support !
Happy national day 🇦🇪❤️ 46.”
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamUAEAbuDhabi) December 3, 2017
Mirza will start his 2018 season in Argentina before heading home to compete at the Dubai Tour from February 6-10 and the Abu Dhabi Tour from February 21-25.
With the Abu Dhabi Tour having attained WorldTour status from the UCI this year, the Dubai Tour growing in popularity and the inaugural staging of the Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Classic being held on the same day the UAE celebrated its 46th National Day, Mirza is excited to be playing a part in a boom time for cycling in the country.
“It is a good experience, I am proud to represent my team on National Day,” said the man who joined UAE Team Emirates after his former side Al Nasr Pro Cycling Team–Dubai disbanded at the end of 2016.
“We are tired after a long season, but we have to do this. We have an opportunity on the team because the race is in our country. It’s National Day and I wore No46 on my jersey. It is a proud day for me, especially being an Emirati.
“There was no chance I was missing it. Even with a broken leg I would have wanted to ride. It’s the first time they have held the race and I think next year it will be a UCI event. They had anti-doping control and invited pro riders. It was really nice for the first year.
“The Abu Dhabi Tour is now a WorldTour race so it’s more important. And we would be proud to add one more event in our country. You can see cycling improving year by year, even day by day. It is a sport growing very fast.”
The race, the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi, was hosted by Abu Dhabi Cycling Club and under the patronage of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The race started on the Corniche and ended in the Garden City 175km later, and Mirza congratulated 32-year-old Cavendish, a winner of 30 individual Tour de France stages, on victory.
“Mark was really quick at the finish. We had a really great race with each other. He is always fast and I congratulate him on first place,” said Mirza.
“We were second and third so it was good. Mark and all the riders were happy on these roads. It was good weather, we were lucky as when we were driving back from Al Ain it was raining.
“It was quite windy and on the flat that can affect the outcome of the race. The quality was really high and all the top professionals finished in the main group.”
As part of the 46th National Day celebrations, this weekend sees the inaugural Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Classic take place with the 175km race, starting at the ADNOC HQ building on the Corniche, Abu Dhabi and finishing in the stunning surroundings of Al Jahili Park, Al Ain on Sunday 3rd December.
The Race will see over 100 amateur and professional cyclists take part with professional cyclists in the peloton including former road world champion Mark Cavendish, UCI Pro Tour Lotto-Soudal rider Adam Hansen as well as 3 of UAE Team Emirates decorated cyclists: Roberto Ferrari, Manuele Mori and Emirati cycling star Yousif Mirza.
The ceremonial start will take place from the Corniche in front of the Adnoc Headquarters before officially starting the race on Sheikh Khalifa Bridge.
The first section of the race follows the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Highway, passing by Yas Island then onto the Al Reef and Al Falah areas. The peloton then join the E20 towards Sweihan and Nahel taking the E95 towards Al Ain finishing in the stunning surroundings of Al Jahili Park.
Commenting on the weekend’s race, His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club said: “We are very much looking forward to the inaugural Abu Dhabi Al Ain Classic. We hope that this can become one of the UAE’s great races in time and we are delighted to see the quality of both professional and amateur entries.
“The Classic and the Family Cycling Festival are great ways for Abu Dhabi Cycling Club to be a part of the UAE’s 46th National Day celebrations and we wish all cyclists in both events a successful and safe rides.”
UAE Team Emirates rider Yousif Mirza added: “It is an honour to be cycling in this new race in Abu Dhabi on National Day weekend. I am really looking forward to racing in the Classic against fellow pros as well as many amateur cyclists from the local community.”
Dr Ahmed Bin Ali, Group Senior Vice President of Platinum Partner Etisalat, said: “We are thrilled to partner on the inaugural cycling event, the Abu Dhabi – Al Ain Classic. It’s very exciting to be involved in this first of its kind cycling event in the UAE and we hope that this will help grow the sport locally and help promote healthy lifestyles.”