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UCI deny Froome given preferential treatment

(Reuters) - Cycling governing body UCI has denied a claim in a French newspaper that Tour de France champion Chris Froome was given preferential treatment over the use of a steroid-based drug in April.

Newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche had accused the UCI of not following its own anti-doping rules in allowing Team Sky rider Froome a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) during the Tour de Romandie to treat a cold.

"The UCI has looked into the matter regarding the grant of recent Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) and confirms that nothing out of the ordinary occurred in the case of Team Sky rider Christopher Froome," a statement said on Sunday.

"Christopher Froome's TUE for oral use of glucocorticosteroids was granted on April 29, 2014 based on duly documented medical history and in compliance with the applicable UCI Regulations and the relevant WADA guidelines.

"The TUE was granted for a limited period, following the usual procedure. The process was fully transparent."

The UCI said any rider with the same symptoms Froome was suffering from would have been granted a TUE and that the British rider had not been favored owing to the fact that Oli Cookson, the son of UCI president Brian Cookson, works for Team Sky.

"The UCI would like to express its profound disappointment with the speculations that have been made suggesting its President could have any influence on the granting of TUEs," the statement went on.

"The UCI President and the UCI Administration have absolutely no involvement with decisions on TUEs. Insinuating that Brian Cookson's son's employment with Team Sky could have something to do with the decision to grant the TUE is an unfounded allegation which will be dealt with seriously."

Froome had led this week's Criterium du Dauphine for the first six stages but he faded badly on the final day to finish outside the top 10 in the general classification.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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