When I first started this site I wrote about anything that interested me in the cycling world and one of those things was the whole Wigging’s mystery package thing. Now we all know that that has come to nothing but has left a dark cloud over the whole of Team Sky and BC, Froome could now be the final nail in that coffin. I get the salbutamol excuse, I understand as an asthmatic that I need to use inhalers if I want to stay alive. I also get that there are various doses that may be needed if I need to reverse the effects of an illness. In this case we will ignore the ethics of trying to counter an illness during a Grand Tour, not accepting it as something that can alter the outcome of a race. You get ill, you lose, is not what I am saying in this piece.
WADA and salbutamol
What I want to talk about is the dose. WADA rules stipulate that you can have 1,000 nanograms per millilitre in your sample without needing a TUE certificate. Again there is a lot of ethics we could talk about with regards to needing a TUE to compete, however we will just consider it an ethical truth that a TUE is ethically correct.
Rather than being an out and out drugs fail, by being salbutamol we instead have an adverse analytical finding. According to WADA
“An Adverse Analytical Finding indicates the presence of prohibited substances or methods in a particular sample. Adverse Analytical Findings should not be confused with adjudicated or sanctioned Anti-Doping Rules Violations (ADRV) for several reasons.
First, these figures may contain findings that underwent the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) approval process. In addition, some Adverse Analytical Findings may correspond to multiple measurements performed on the same athlete, such as in cases of longitudinal studies in testosterone (i.e., tracking the testosterone level of one athlete over a period of time).”
This means that an Adverse Analytical Finding may not become an anti-doping rule violation. If it does become one and looking at what happened to Alessandro Petacchi then Froome could be looking at a year out and his Vuelta victory being removed from him. It also leads to the question of what becomes of Team Sky when their main talent has become tainted what do they do?
Now rather than carry on down this route, as there will currently be a about a million articles online going through all this I want to pose one question.
To gain 1,000 nanograms per millilitre in your sample you need to have used your inhaler 16 times in 24 hours. Froome is seemingly over double that, so we can guess he used his inhaler roughly 32 times in 24 hours. If I phoned the doctors with that kind of dosage I would be getting a trip to hospital and not trying to cycle up mountains in Spain. If he was that ill, should the team have been allowing him to ride?
I seem to always be picking on Team Sky.