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Chris Froome case has damaged WADA, claims USADA's Travis Tygart

Man who brought down Lance Armstrong expresses concerns over what he sees as lack of transparency

Travis Tygart, who as CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) led the investigation that brought down Lance Armstrong, says the Chris Froome salbutamol case has damaged the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Froome, currently third overall at the Tour de France, was cleared earlier this month in relation to his adverse analytical finding for an excessive amount of the anti-asthma drug salbutamol.

But Tygart harbours reservations about exactly why the case was closed, telling BBC Sport: "The question is whether justice was truly served or did a star get an undeserved break.

"Unfortunately it's another blow to the perceived credibility of the global anti-doping movement."

Tygart described the case as "another shard that has damaged the credibility of Wada" and said that the lack of transparency was unfair on Froome since it put him in a "worst-case scenario" where he not only has a tarnished reputation, but is also viewed as possibly benefiting from favourable treatment.

"You can never un-ring that bell and it's why more answers have to be provided so that people have confidence that he's not just a star who got away with it - that's a natural conclusion," Tygart said.

"Athletes should not be accused or it be inferred that they're not clean until proven through the established process and that didn't happen here and he deserves the benefit of that presumption of innocence."

According to Tygart, since the current rules regarding salbutamol were introduced in 2011, USADA has conducted 75,000 anti-doing controls and has not found “a single athlete” across all sports who exceeded the permitted amount.

Froome meanwhile had 19 per cent more than the legal threshold, after adjusting for dehydration.

 75,000 drug tests conducted by Usada since the salbutamol rule was updated in 2011, the organisation did not find "a single athlete" in any sport that exceeded the maximum permitted amount.

WADA however insisted that Tygart’s claims were not reflected by the facts of the case. A spokesman for the organisation told BBC Sport:  "WADA has publicly set out the reasoning for its position on the case of Mr Froome.

“Mr Tygart's assessment appears uninformed, is unconstructive, and, quite frankly is surprising given that USADA has itself previously taken the decision to close a salbutamol case where the athlete exceeded the threshold without a controlled pharmacokinetic study being conducted.

"In leading the fight against doping in sport, WADA is sometimes forced to make difficult decisions related to complex cases that people, who are not in possession of the facts, do not understand or agree with. This is one of those occasions.

“WADA is convinced that, in view of the complex and unique circumstances of Mr Froome's case, the UCI reached a correct and fair outcome," the spokesman added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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