Chris Froome will lead Team Sky in this month’s Giro d’Italia as he targets victory in a third straight Grand Tour event despite an ongoing probe into an adverse doping test, the team announced Friday.
The British rider is taking part in the event, which starts in Jerusalem and runs from May 4 to 27, for the first time since 2010.
Froome admitted there was a risk in making a serious assault on the Giro so close to his expected attempt to retain his Tour de France title, but said he would regret it for the rest of his career if he did not attempt it.
He completed an historic Tour de France-Vuelta a Espana double in September.
“I’ve had a different start to the season as I’ve obviously been aiming to try and reach my peak quite a bit earlier than usual,” Froome said in a team statement.
“But the target of going for a third consecutive Grand Tour has given me new motivation.
“Of course there is an element of risk involved in targeting the Giro before the Tour, but I think I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t give this race a go.”
Froome, 32, has been embroiled in a legal and scientific wrangle with the International Cycling Union’s (UCI’s) independent anti-doping unit since he returned an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol at the Vuelta.
The four-time Tour de France winner insists there has been no wrongdoing on his or the team’s part.
Although salbutamol is permitted in certain doses, Froome gave a urine reading of twice the allowed limit. The investigation is ongoing and Froome continues to compete.
The rider told Eurosport that the build-up to the Giro had not been easy, voicing his frustrations over the drawn-out situation.
“I certainly haven’t been charged (with) anything as of yet and I hope to be fully exonerated of any wrongdoing because I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.
Team principal Dave Brailsford said a third consecutive Grand Tour win would be a tough challenge but added that Froome would have a strong team behind him.
The other members of Team Sky for the Giro are David de la Cruz, Kenny Elissonde, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Wout Poels and Salvatore Puccio. (Agence France-Presse)