Team Sky enjoyed another good day on the road yesterday as Geraint Thomas rose to third overall at the Criterium du Dauphine.
The British team received encouraging news on another front, too, with suggestions that there would be no attempt to proactively block Chris Froome from the Tour de France if he was not officially suspended by then.
There had been fears that organisers might try to exercise a "disrepute" clause in their own rules, with Froome's salbutamol case dragging on. Such a move would almost certainly have ended in court.
Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France race director, said yesterday that any race ban was a "decision for the UCI". Froome returned an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug at last year's Vuelta a Espana.
If he cannot explain why he had twice the permitted dosage in his urine sample, he could be stripped of the title and suspended.
Froome, whose win in last month's Giro d'Italia was his sixth grand tour victory, denies any wrongdoing.
A resolution in the case had been expected before the Tour's start on July 7. However, UCI president David Lappartient stated recently that he thought that was unlikely.
Prudhomme said yesterday that it was ridiculous that the sport was still waiting for answers. But he stopped short of saying race organiser ASO would try to implement its own ban.
"David Lappartient said it multiple times, it is a decision that must be taken by the UCI," Prudhomme said. "Cycling works like anything else. We are the organisers [but] we don't make the rules."
Sky continue to dominate the Dauphine, the Tour's traditional warm-up race, occupying the top three spots in the general classification.
Welshman Thomas, who is trying to ride himself into form for the Tour, now sits just six seconds behind his team-mate and new race leader Gianni Moscon after finishing third in the first mountain stage of the race yesterday. Fellow Sky rider Michal Kwiatkowski is second, also six seconds behind Moscon.
The Telegraph, London
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