ASO, the organisers of the world’s most prestigious cycling race, the Tour de France, have informed Team Sky that Chris Froome will not be allowed to start the event.
The 2018 Tour de France gets underway this coming Saturday, July 7, with Stage 1 Noirmoutier-en-l'Île to Fontenay-le-Comte.
Froome, a four-time Tour de France champion, has an investigation over a positive test for salbutamol hanging over him, but under UCI regulations he is allowed to continue racing until the case is resolved.
However, ASO sent Team Sky an email in which they make it clear that Froome is not welcome at the Tour.
"The Tour de France wants at all costs to avoid being in the same situation as the recent Giro d’Italia, where the final victory of Froome is now marked with an asterisk," Le Monde quote the email.
The ASO has cited article 28 of its rules, which "expressly reserves the right to refuse participation in - or to exclude from - the event, a team or any of its members whose presence would be such as to damage the image or reputation of ASO or the event."
Team Sky has already appealed this decision to the National Olympic Committee of French Sport, and a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 3 with a decision set to made the following day.
“We are confident that Chris [Froome] will be riding the Tour as we know he has done nothing wrong,” Team Sky told Cyclingnews.
Despite this controversy, Froome is confident he will appear at the start of the event this coming weekend and compete for a fifth title.
"From my point of view, I know I’ve done nothing wrong and from the very beginning, that’s always been my starting point," Froome told Sky Sports in a video interview.
"So, it would be really hard for me to not race, knowing that I’ve done nothing wrong, that I’ve got every right to be racing, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”