2018 Giro d'Italia

Lance Armstrong Believes Chris Froome Will Be Banned After Giro d'Italia

Lance Armstrong Believes Chris Froome Will Be Banned After Giro d'Italia

Lance Armstrong said he believes Chris Froome will be handed a doping sentence effectively barring him from competing at the Tour de France.

Apr 26, 2018 by Joe Battaglia
2018 Giro d’Italia - Froome Vs Dumoulin

Might the Giro d’Italia be the final Grand Tour race in 2018 that cycling fans get to see Chris Froome?

Lance Armstrong believes so.

On his Stages podcast Monday, Armstrong said that he doubted strongly that Froome, who is facing a potential doping ban for adverse analytical findings last year, would “legally” be permitted to defend his Tour de France title this July.

“My speculation, and I am not trying to make a judgement, make a ruling on this, I don’t think Chris Froome is at the Tour de France,” Armstrong said. “For whatever reason, legally, he’s not there. Actually, I am making a judgement. It’s bullshit. This thing should have been resolved a long time ago, but I don’t think he’s there.”

Join PRO to watch the 2018 Giro d'Italia live and on replay.

On September 20, Froome, Britain’s most successful road cyclist, was informed that he had tested positive for high levels of salbutamol, a bronchodilator used to treat asthma, during his victory at the Vuelta a España. Analysis of his B sample confirmed the results of the rider's A sample to have twice WADA's threshold limit.

WADA’s prohibited list provides that, “the presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1,000 ng/mL or formoterol in excess of 40 ng/mL is presumed not to be an intended therapeutic use of the substance.”

The 32-year-old Froome has denied any wrongdoing, but as he prepares for the Giro and his attempt to become the first racer to win all three Grand Tours in succession, he has done so under an unyielding shroud of skepticism.

In February, Mauro Vegni, the organizer of the Giro, told Cyclingnews that he wants to avoid with Froome a similar situation to what played out in 2011 when Spain’s Alberto Contador won the race but had his results from the Corsa Rosa vacated as part of his doping sanction following a positive test at the 2010 Tour de France.

“Froome is welcome at the Giro d’Italia, but if he then wins the pink jersey, he’ll always be the winner for me, even he is suspended and disqualified from the results,” Vegni said. “I’m not going to remove a rider’s name from the roll of honour of the Giro d’Italia and then present the trophy and pink jersey to another rider a year later like we had to do after the Contador case.”

Like Armstrong, Vegni has implored the UCI to come to a long-overdue ruling on Froome’s eligibility.

Speaking before last weekend’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic, Tour de France organizer Christian Prudhomme said he expects a ruling from cycling’s governing body before the July 7 start of his race.

“I have absolute confidence in the UCI to do that,” Prudhomme said. “The president of the UCI has said there certainly won’t be (a Froome ruling) before the Giro, but there certainly will be one before the Tour de France. We must have that answer.”

Confident that the answer will be a Tour ban for Froome, Armstrong backed Italian Vincenzo Nibili as his favorite to win the Tour de France. Based on his strong showing at Liège, he touted Dutchman Tom Dumoulin to win a second straight Maglia Rosa.

“It’s interesting to me that he is not doing the Tour,” Armstrong said of Dumoulin. “I get it that it is probably not an ideal route for him, but he showed himself (well) today so if this is his last checkpoint, I think he can check the box and say I’m on my way for trying to defend the pink jersey.”