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Former World and Commonwealth champion Lizzie Deignan claims Froome's reputation has been unfairly 'tarnished'

Chris Froome intends to race in the Tour de France despite ongoing controversy. Photo: PA

Chris Froome's reputation will be forever 'tarnished' because he has been unfairly treated over his anti-doping case, according to Lizzie Deignan.

Deignan, the former world and Commonwealth and road race champion, also believes the authorities did not do enough for her when she missed three drugs tests in 2016.

Froome is fighting against an adverse analytical finding for asthma drug Salbutamol which he returned during his Vuelta a Espana victory last September.

The Team Sky rider has since won the Giro d'Italia and intends to race the Tour de France - where he will seek a fifth title - next month as the case against him continues.

Details of Froome's case have been leaked before the process has been completed. Credit: PA

Froome has denied taking more than the allowed amount of Salbutamol despite his urine sample showing twice the permitted level of the drug, which is a specified substance. Details of the case are known after news of his positive test was leaked before the process was completed.

Deignan said: "He hasn't had a fair process because already people have made up their minds, unfortunately, and that is not based on the full story.

"Unfortunately for Chris his reputation is tarnished and will be forever. Whether he's innocent or not, it's kind of irrelevant to some people at this stage. A leak in a legal process should never happen," Deignan told journalist Orla Chennaoui on her When Orla Met podcast, in quotes reported by the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

"A rider should be protected because inevitably there will be things that happen, grey areas that should be looked at logically, scientifically, and analysed in court," added Deignan.

"That's an inevitable part of having asthma and taking an inhaler and I think unfortunately he hasn't had a fair process. It's a very personal story."

Deignan escaped a ban in 2016 after a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling. Credit: PA

Deignan escaped a ban in 2016 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted a doping control officer had not tried hard enough to locate her when she could not be found for testing on the third of three required occasions in a 12-month period.

Deignan said: "I felt really let down by UK Anti-Doping at the time that they didn't publicly defend the fact I was tested within a day of both missed tests and obviously all my samples have proved negative. I've never doped.

"They haven't taken ownership or apologised or anything. You're still working with a system that is not even good. I think there's still a long way to go for them to be transparent themselves."