Froome finishes in peloton on return

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Chris Froome started his 2018 season amid his ongoing drugs test controversy at the Ruta del Sol, he and his Sky team-mates finishing safely in the peloton in the opening stage.

Froome's presence at the event has been the subject of much debate, with the four-time Tour de France champion having provided a urine sample revealing twice the permitted amount of the asthma drug salbutamol in his system during his successful Vuelta a Espana campaign last year.

As salbutamol is not a banned substance, Froome's results did not trigger an automatic suspension. However, the Briton will be subject to a ban if he and Team Sky are unable to give a legitimate physiological explanation for the finding.

UCI president David Lappartient has called for Froome to recuse himself from racing until the case is settled, but he was back in the saddle for Wednesday's 197.6 kilometre ride from Mijas to Granada.

The stage culminated in a dramatic sprint finish that saw Direct Energie's Thomas Boudat pip Sacha Modolo of EF Education First-Drapac, who prematurely raised his arms in celebration believing he had crossed the line.

Next up for Froome and his competitors is a 140km route from Otura to La Guardia de Jaen.