Tour de France chief calls for clarity before Chris Froome competes

Chris Froome is the reigning Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana champion. Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has demanded a resolution to the Chris Froome doping case before the Briton is allowed to defend his title.

Four-time Tour winner Froome failed a drug test at the Vuelta a Espana last September -- a race he also won -- and is still under investigation by cycling's governing body; the UCI.

Prudhomme said of the situation: "What we want ardently, like all organisers, is for the UCI to provide a response.

"In December I said we wanted a rapid response. Now, we can remove the word 'rapid'. We want a response. The organisers need a response, not just for us at the Tour de France but for all the organisers, so that there isn't a rider they'll later say shouldn't have been at the start. It's mad! It's completely grotesque."

Froome, 32, has launched a staunch defence of himself, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford and the outfit as a whole.

He told PA Sport: "I can only speak from my own experiences in the team. I've been there for eight years, since day one, when the team started. I certainly have a very different picture to what's been painted in the headlines.

"I'm proud to be part of the team. I wouldn't have stayed so long, I wouldn't have been in the team, I wouldn't still be in the team, if I didn't believe in the team and the people around me.

"Dave B. [Brailsford] has brought all those people together and we've got a fantastic group of people."

Another former Tour de France winner and Team Sky mainstay, Sir Bradley Wiggins, is also currently the target of accusations he cheated during his career. Wiggins vehemently denies the claims and says he is the victim of a "malicious" attempt to "smear" his reputation.