The World Anti-Doping Agency announced on Monday that it will not appeal the UCI’s decision to clear Chris Froome of any anti-doping rule violations from the 2017 Vuelta a Espana. The agency’s press release confirmed that Froome did not undergo the controlled pharmacokinetic study (CPKS) allowed under WADA rules to prove that the level of salbutamol in his Vuelta urine sample that exceeded the allowed threshold was a normal consequence of his physiology.
“In Mr. Froome’s case, WADA accepts that a CPKS would not have been practicable as it would not have been possible to adequately recreate the unique circumstances that preceded the 7 September doping control,” the press release stated.
WADA arrived at the decision “based on a number of factors that are specific to the case of Mr. Froome – including, in particular, a significant increase in dose, over a short period prior to the doping control, in connection with a documented illness; as well as, demonstrated within-subject variability in the excretion of Salbutamol – WADA concluded that the sample result was not inconsistent with the ingestion of inhaled Salbutamol within the permitted maximum dose.”
The WADA code allows for asthmatic athletes to inhale salbutamol at maximum doses of 1600 mcg/24 hours, while not exceeding 800 mcg per 12 hours.
In previous salbutamol cases – in particular those of Alessandro Petacchi and Diego Ulissi – the UCI and WADA rejected arguments that the athlete’s use of the drug was within the allowed limits.
In 2014, Ulissi underwent a CPKS, but his appeal on a salbutamol level of 1900mg/mL failed, and he was given a nine-month ban. In 2008, the Court for Arbitration of Sport declared that Petacchi “simply, and, possibly, accidentally, taking too much Salbutamol on the day of the test, but that the overdose was not taken with the intention of enhancing his performance”, but he was still given a one-year ban for testing at 1352ng/mL.
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