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UCI deny bending anti-doping rules for Froome

ESPN staff
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Chris Froome was left bloodied and bruised after a crash towards the end of stage six of the Criterium du Dauphine © Getty Images
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Chris Froome has found himself at the centre of accusations from the French media that cycling's governing body the UCI bent anti-doping rules to favour him ahead of last month's Tour de Romandie.

French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche allege that Froome, who finished 12th overall at the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday, was allowed to use a steroid to treat a chest infection despite the UCI not following the correct procedure when issuing a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

The UCI denied any wrongdoing, however, saying: "The TUE was granted for a limited period, following the usual procedure. The UCI wishes to emphasise that under the applicable rules any rider with the same symptoms as Christopher Froome would have receieved a similar TUE."

World Anti-Doping Agency regulations state that TUE applications must be reviewed by a committee including at least three physicians.

The paper claims, however, that Froome's request to take the corticosteroid prenisolone was approved solely by UCI medical director Mario Zorzoli.

Team Sky have denied the allegations and have also rejected accusations the UCI showed them favouritism due to president Brian Cookson's son being on their team staff.

"That's ridiculous," said Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford. "I've worked with Brian for 16 years at British Cycling and no one has ever said anything. His son works with us, but I don't think that raises any questions."

Brailsford added: "Dr Zorzoli, the UCI doctor, told us what we could and couldn't do, we've always stayed within the rules, so we've got nothing to hide."

Froome withdrew from the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race with a "mild chest infection" just a week before going on to win Romandie.

Without a TUE, riders are forbidden from taking corticosteroids. Teams have to apply for a TUE 21 days ahead of use, but in cases where the condition is considered "acute", an application can be fast-tracked or retroactively applied for.

Froome was allowed to take up to 40mg of the prenisolone in tablet form.

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