Chris Froome expressed concerns that a stigma could arise over athletes' use of salbutamol due to "misconceptions" after a drugs test he took at the Vuelta a Espana showed elevated levels of the substance.
Team Sky on Wednesday announced the UCI had requested further information relating to a urine sample supplied by Froome after stage 18 of the Vuelta which showed a concentration of salbutamol that was double the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) threshold of 1,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml).
Asthma medication salbutamol is permitted by WADA rules without the need for a therapeutic use exemption when inhaled up to a limit of 1,600 micrograms over 24 hours, which the Kenya-born Brit insists he did not exceed.
The adverse finding does not constitute a break of the rules and the 32-year-old has not been provisionally suspended, while none of his 20 other urine tests taken in Spain require further explanation.
Froome hopes the situation he is at the centre of does not affect how other asthma sufferers who need the medication use it in the future.
"It's sad seeing the misconceptions that are out there about athletes & salbutamol use," Froome wrote on Twitter.
"My hope is that this doesn't prevent asthmatic athletes from using their inhalers in emergency situations for fear of being judged. It is not something to be ashamed of."
It’s sad seeing the misconceptions that are out there about athletes & salbutamol use. My hope is that this doesn’t prevent asthmatic athletes from using their inhalers in emergency situations for fear of being judged. It is not something to be ashamed of @asthmauk #asthma— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) December 14, 2017
In response to a journalist who suggested the issue was about whether Froome abused the medication, the two-time Olympic medallist added: "I didn't take more salbutamol than permitted, I've made that very clear.
"I'm also looking at the bigger picture. This enquiry will come and go, but the stigma will remain."
I didn’t take more salbutamol than permitted, I’ve made that very clear. I’m also looking at the bigger picture. This enquiry will come and go, but the stigma will remain.— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) December 14, 2017
Froome's maiden Vuelta crown followed his fourth Tour de France triumph, making him just the third man – after Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault – to win both Grand Tours in the same year.
The Team Sky rider last month confirmed his plan to take part in the 2018 Giro d'Italia, the only major title still evading him.
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