Chris Froome: I’ve got every right to race Tour de France

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Chris Froome said he has “every right” to race the Tour de France that starts next week while his drug-test case from September remains unsettled.

“I can certainly see it from that point of view, people concerned about the image of the sport,” Froome said in a Sky Sports interview published Wednesday. “But from my point of view, I know I’ve done nothing wrong and that from the very beginning, that’s always been my starting point. So, it would be really hard for me to not race, knowing that I’ve done nothing wrong here. I’ve got every right to be racing, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Froome would race in the July 7-29 Grand Tour, eyeing his fifth Tour de France win and fourth straight, under the cloud of a potential ban.

A urine sample he provided at the Vuelta a España in September, which he also won, showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level.

Froome maintains he has long struggled with asthma. Froome’s Team Sky said he had to take an increased dosage of salbutamol without exceeding the permissible dose after experiencing “acute asthma symptoms” during the final week of the Vuelta.

Salbutamol helps expand lung capacity and can be used as a performance-enhancing drug to increase endurance.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) hasn’t ruled on the case. Froome guaranteed that he would not be retroactively stripped of his result next month, nor would he be stripped of last month’s Giro d’Italia title.

“I’m fully expecting to be exonerated, to be fully cleared by the end of this process,,” Froome said.

Froome joined Belgian Eddy Merckx and Frenchman Bernard Hinault as the only men to hold all three Grand Tour titles at once.

Hinault called Froome “a cheat” last week and called for riders to boycott the Tour if Froome was on the start line for the three-week event, according to Agence France-Presse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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