Chris Froome: This enquiry will come and go, but the stigma will remain

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome. Photo by Jun Sato/Getty Images

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome took to twitter to express his sadness that the use of Salbutamol by athletes suffering from asthma may result in them being judged as dopers.

Froome is currently responding to a request for information from the International Cycling Union (UCI) after his use of medication for asthma during the 2017 Vuelta a España returned an adverse analytical finding.

In a statement on the Team Sky Website, Froome said: "It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are. I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms (always within the permissible limits).

"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.

"The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires."

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: "There are complex medical and physiological issues which affect the metabolism and excretion of Salbutamol. We're committed to establishing the facts and understanding exactly what happened on this occasion.

"I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol. Of course, we will do whatever we can to help address these questions."

Froome took to twitter on Thursday to defend the many competing athletes who also suffer from asthma.

And went on to say that though he is confident of being cleared of any wrong doing, 'the stigma will remain'.

Froome and Team Sky, along with medical and legal experts will now have to provide evidence to the UCI as to why his sample taken at the 18th stage of the Spanish Grand Tour was double the concentration of permitted levels, without having exceeded his permitted dosages.

Sources understand that Froome and Team Sky are engaging the services of Mike Morgan, renowned anti-doping lawyer, as they prepare their evidence to present to the UCI.

Morgan successfully helped clear Lizzie Armistead of a doping charge in 2016, after she allegedly committed three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period.

The firm also acted for Maria Sharapova in her successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce her ban for testing positive for a banned substance from two years to 15 months.

ESPN has reached out to both Team Sky and Morgan Sports Law for a further confirmation statement, but no further comments are being made as the case is ongoing.