Chris Froome should rule himself out of racing until an investigation into his “adverse” drugs test is complete, says French rival Romain Bardet.
Team Sky’s Froome had double the allowed level of legal asthma drug salbutamol in his urine after a test during September’s Vuelta a Espana.
The Briton, 32, has denied wrongdoing and he has not been suspended.
“I can’t really see how Froome can race as if nothing was going on,” Bardet, 27, told French sports daily L’Equipe.
“Since Team Sky are doing nothing, nothing prevents their rider from taking a step back until there is a decision from the authorities.”
Froome says he took his team doctor’s advice to increase his inhaler use after his asthma symptoms got worse during the Vuelta, but it was within the legal limits, and that cycling’s world governing body the UCI is “absolutely right” to ask questions.
The urine test, taken on 7 September 2017, showed levels of salbutamol were at 2,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml).
That compares to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) threshold of 1,000 ng/ml.
The use of salbutamol is permitted, without the need for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE), but only within certain doses.
“Will the UCI have the means to shed light on this case? Will experts manage to prove that it is possible to have such high natural levels [of salbutamol]?” he added.
The AG2R-La Mondiale rider also hopes the UCI will reach a conclusion before the start of the Tour de France in less than six months.
“Otherwise, it would be catastrophic for the image of the race and the image of cycling. It would be a farce,” he said.