Chris Froome, a four-time winner of the Tour de France, including its last three editions, tested positive for excessive levels of an asthma drug last fall.
In a urine test taken at the Vuelta a España in September, Froome, of Britain, was found to have double the allowable level of the drug, Salbutamol. Froome won the race.
“It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are,” Froome said in a statement. “I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms (always within the permissible limits) and I know for sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader’s jersey.
“My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose.
“I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously. The U.C.I. is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires.”
The maximum permissible dosage is 16 puffs of salbutamol from an inhaler in a 24-hour period, The Guardian reported. Team Sky, Froome’s team, suggested that the drug could metabolize in unusual ways, resulting in elevated levels.