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Brian Cookson confirms he knew about Chris Froome test result

Bahrain-Merida team manager says most teams would have suspended rider

Brian Cookson has confirmed that he was made aware of Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding on his final day as UCI president.

Froome had twice the permitted limit of the anti-asthma drug Salbutamol when tested at the Vuelta a Espana in September.

While the drug is not banned outright, Froome will have to prove that he kept to the permitted dosage to avoid a ban and being stripped of his victory in that race.

Earlier this month Cookson, who is a former member of Team Sky’s supervisory board, suggested that the team should have its reputation “reinstated” after UK Anti-Doping failed to bring charges relating to the Jiffy bag delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.

He has since confirmed that he did so while aware that Froome was potentially facing a ban.

"I was informed that Chris Froome had provided an A sample with an anomalous result for a substance that did not result in an immediate provisional suspension the last 24 hours of my tenure at UCI,” he said.

"When I left the UCI the following day, the matter passed to the new president and, rightly, I was no longer informed about the matter. I cannot comment further on this or any other ongoing case."

Eurosport reports that he had previously said that Froome's adverse analytical finding was a matter for the independent CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) and the Legal Anti-Doping Service supervised by an external lawyer.

"I had then, and still have today, confidence in the integrity of all those involved, that they would always follow the correct procedures in every case, and that no rider was treated in any way differently from any other."

Bahrain-Merida team manager, Brent Copeland, believes that Froome should not race until the case is resolved, arguing that by allowing him to continue riding, Team Sky are giving the sport a bad image.

Speaking to Cycling News, he said: "I’ve known Chris for years, and I must be very clear that this isn’t against him. I think that Chris can come back stronger than before. I know him and his mindset.

"If you have a code of conduct or an ethics code then you should follow that. September 20 is when they were notified and Chris still presented himself at several events and [Team Sky] were negotiating with RCS about the participation of him at the Giro d’Italia, knowing what they had on their plate, which is difficult for me to understand as a manager.

“Even if he is banned for nine months, eight months, or whatever the case is, he could still ride the Giro d’Italia. But in the meantime, the code of conduct of most teams would dictate that the rider should be suspended.”

Copeland also questioned why Team Sky hadn’t at least been questioned by the UCI’s licence commission before being granted a 2018 World Tour licence.

"The question I ask myself is that this case has been going on since the September 20 when they knew about the excess levels of Salbutamol and they weren’t called in front of the licence commission. Once again, it’s difficult to explain to the man in the pub and it causes confusion. This is what makes me angry about the situation."

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10 comments

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SteveAustin | 6 years ago
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When did Brian Cookson become the Bahrain Merida team manager?

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SNS1938 | 6 years ago
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I think Froome will pass the retest. I expect he's practiced taking multiple doses and varying his hydration and everything to see what appears in the urine. He's had months to play with this, and I bet he wont go for the PK test until he knows he can pass it.

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davel | 6 years ago
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The levels of that inhaled vs excreted are generally related, but it's complicated....

http://inrng.com/2017/12/chris-froomes-salbutamol-case/

In short, it seems to be possible to spike the urine reading via being dehydrated and taking bursts on the inhaler close together. However, the current urine limit is supposed to allow that contingency, while being low enough to catch instances of salbutamol that has been swallowed, which could point to an attempt to use it as a PED or masking agent.

WADA (for it is they wot sets these limits, not the UCI) :

"The presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL… …is presumed not to be an intended therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) unless the Athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study, that the abnormal result was the consequence of the use of the therapeutic dose (by inhalation) up to the maximum dose indicated above".

Froomey's reading is twice that limit, and now it's on him to demonstrate how.

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don simon fbpe replied to davel | 6 years ago
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davel wrote:

The levels of that inhaled vs excreted are generally related, but it's complicated.... http://inrng.com/2017/12/chris-froomes-salbutamol-case/ In short, it seems to be possible to spike the urine reading via being dehydrated and taking bursts on the inhaler close together. However, the current urine limit is supposed to allow that contingency, while being low enough to catch instances of salbutamol that has been swallowed, which could point to an attempt to use it as a PED or masking agent. WADA (for it is they wot sets these limits, not the UCI) : "The presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL… …is presumed not to be an intended therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) unless the Athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study, that the abnormal result was the consequence of the use of the therapeutic dose (by inhalation) up to the maximum dose indicated above". Froomey's reading is twice that limit.

Does anyone believe that Team Sky and their marginal gains would allow a rider to dehydrate?

Does antone believe that Froome would take two swift toots close together, especially as he bangs on so much about knowing the rules?

As you say, twice the  limit is significantly more than an oversight, again as Froome said immediately after the stage that he wasn't ill... So that's one hell of a slip up. And people do make mistakes.

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davel replied to don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
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don simon wrote:

Does anyone believe that Team Sky and their marginal gains would allow a rider to dehydrate?

Does antone believe that Froome would take two swift toots close together, especially as he bangs on so much about knowing the rules?

I think the vast majority of people, including me, who'll comment on this won't know enough about the metabolisation of salbutamol, either now, or by the time the saga concludes, to speak with any authority.

So it's back to your gut, fan allegiances, whatever. Personally I think GC contenders are most likely up to all sorts, and Froomey going for the double required him to fly too close to the sun.

Does him briefly popping over a fairly arbitrary measure constitute cheating? Probably no more than any other TdF great you can think of. But it isn't 'clean' - and that's what I find entertaining about this. The lengths that Sky and Brailsford will go to to convince the world that they are 'clean' by Joe Public's definition of 'clean', and the conspiracy theories put forward by people motivated to attack them for that very reason, are pretty hilarious.

If Brailsford's line had always been 'we'll sail close to the wind, like everyone else, and occasionally we might get caught', he'd have fewer people sticking the boot in now. Doubt that line would be attractive to sponsors, though.

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P3t3 replied to don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
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don simon wrote:

Does anyone believe that Team Sky and their marginal gains would allow a rider to dehydrate?

Does antone believe that Froome would take two swift toots close together, especially as he bangs on so much about knowing the rules?

 

Yeah - sky will almost certainly dehydrate him in a very controlled fashion for summit finishes - you can knock a kilo off the rider at no performance cost through this method.  

I can't imagine someone like Froome not being mindful that he had taken exactly the right ammount.  I would be very surprised if sky don't have some kind of protocol to track this kind of thing following the jiffy bag problems.  Or maybe they have really messed this one up again, it could be that they have used the same protocol for years and this hasn't happened...

 

 

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brooksby | 6 years ago
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Genuine question: is there a way that Mr Froome's blood could come up twice the allowed count of asthma medication while he was also staying within the allowed dosage (even if higher than his usual dosage)? Presumably these levels were all set by the UCI so that someone wouldn't fall foul of the dosage rules just because they had a bad asthma attack and had to take more of their medication??

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oldstrath replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
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brooksby wrote:

Genuine question: is there a way that Mr Froome's blood could come up twice the allowed count of asthma medication while he was also staying within the allowed dosage (even if higher than his usual dosage)? Presumably these levels were all set by the UCI so that someone wouldn't fall foul of the dosage rules just because they had a bad asthma attack and had to take more of their medication??

Almost certainly yes, but I'd be a bit surprised if Sky didn't already know enough about how he metabolises Salbutamol to be fairly sure what dose might take him over the limit. 

The WADA limits are, I expect, set so as to be very specific, but i doubt thete are truly no false- positives.

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Jamminatrix | 6 years ago
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Can anyone say, cover-up? If it had come out when the positive occured, it would have coincided with the conclusion of Wiggins jiffy bag investigation, which would have further hurt reputations and fueled controversy.  It was a strategic move to stay quiet through and through to protect the elites.  

 

One has to ask: If Cookson won re-election, would we have even found out about Froomes positive?

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davel replied to Jamminatrix | 6 years ago
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Jamminatrix wrote:

One has to ask: If Cookson won re-election, would we have even found out about Froomes positive?

And one might suggest, in these festive times, with the right amount of lubrication, that no, we would not.

Cookson's entire, even latest, UCI campaign seemed to be based on 'I am not McQuaid' - it is difficult to see what he actually stands for.

He likes taking credit for the BC stuff, apart from where it went wrong: that wasn't him.

He's basically everything that's wrong with politics, but in cycling form. What's not to like?!

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