Tour de France: Froome the favourite as anti-doping investigation dropped

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome
Chris Froome wearing the Yellow Jersey
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Four-time champion can go into the Tour - which starts on Saturday - firmly focused on winning, after cycling's governing body announced it's dropping its investigation. Bettors are already backing Froome for victory, says Max Liu...

"I meant it when I said that I would never dishonour a winner's jersey and that my results would stand the test of time.
I have never doubted that this case would be dismissed for the simple reason that I have known throughout I did nothing wrong."

The odds on Chris Froome - [2.86] - winning the Tour de France are tumbling, after cycling's world governing body, the UCI, announced that it's dropping its doping investigation case against him.

Froome, 33, was being investigated after more than the allowed level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol was found in his urine. However, the UCI, on the advice of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which has looked into the case, has recommended that the case be dropped.

End of "an emotional nine months" for Froome

Froome said he was "grateful and relieved" to hear that the case has been dropped. He went on to say:

"It has been an emotional nine months," added Froome. "Thank you to all of those who have supported and believed in me throughout.

"I meant it when I said that I would never dishonour a winner's jersey and that my results would stand the test of time.

"I have never doubted that this case would be dismissed for the simple reason that I have known throughout I did nothing wrong."

Froome expected to line up at Tour start on Saturday

The announcement means that Froome can focus on the Tour de France, without anything else to worry about. Indeed, he should go into Saturday's start with the sense that a weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

Prior to today's announcement, the prospect of his involvement was controversial, with organisers saying they didn't want him taking part while under investigation, and five-time winner Bernard Hinault even calling for strikes during the race in protest against Froome.

Froome has won the Tour four times and would love to add a fifth title this year. He's aiming to complete a fourth Grand Tour win in a row, after victories at the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana and last year's Tour de France.

Froome is followed in the betting by Richie Porte [5.8], Nairo Quintana [12.0] and Mikel Landa [16.0].

For more information about the Tour de France, and how to bet on it, read Jack Houghton's guide here.

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