LONDON (Reuters) - Chris Froome has said his use of an inhaler is "not something to be ashamed of" after a urine test at the Vuelta a Espana in September showed excess levels of an asthma medication.
Froome was found to have double the allowed amount of the legal drug Salbutamol in his system in a test after stage 18 of the Vuelta, which he won, on Sept. 7, the International Cycling Union confirmed on Wednesday.
Froome tweeted on Thursday: "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."
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Team Sky rider Froome, 32, risks being banned from cycling, which has struggled for decades with doping scandals, and could lose his Vuelta title if he cannot provide a satisfactory explanation for the adverse test finding.
In an interview with Sky Sports, the four times Tour de France winner admitted the finding was "damaging" to his reputation.
"It has come as a huge shock to me," he said. "But at the same time, I know that within me I have fundamentally followed the protocol. I have not overstepped any boundaries."
(Reporting by Matt Westby; Editing by Hugh Lawson)