Milan (AFP) - Chris Froome continues his preparations for the Giro d’Italia at next week’s Tour of the Alps despite his case remaining under consideration by cycling’s anti-doping unit.
The British four-time Tour de France champion returned an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol at the Vuelta a Espana in September – a race he won in a historic Tour-Vuelta double.
The 32-year-old Sky rider insists he has “done nothing wrong” and has continued competing and preparing for the three-week Giro which will get underway in Jerusalem on May 4.
Froome, a Kenyan-born Briton, has this season already finished 10th in the Ruta del Sol and 34th in the Tirreno-Adriatico, will use the Tour of the Alps as his last warm-up for the Giro.
“I sleep at night. In my heart I know that I’ve done nothing wrong, that I haven’t cheated,” said Froome ahead of the race through northern Italy and southern Austria.
Froome and Team Sky carried out some final Giro d’Italia reconnaissance rides in the nearby mountains on Sunday before heading to the start of the race.
And the Briton said he was reassured by the dreaded Monte Zoncolan, which the peloton must climb in the 14th stage of the Giro d’Italia.
“It’s less difficult than I remember. In my memory it was worse,” said Froome, who climbed the Zoncolan in 2010 and finished 81st some 22 minutes behind winner Ivan Basso.
The five-stage Tour of the Alps – formerly the Giro del Trentino – should favour the climbers with eleven mountain finishes.
Froome will come up against rivals he will also face in the Giro including Italian Fabio Aru of the UAE Emirates team, France’s Thibaut Pinot of FDJ, second last year behind Welsh rider Geraint Thomas, or Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana. Last year’s Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin will not be competing.