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Team Sky declined to comment on the story when asked by The Telegraph, although they did express confidence that the four-time champion would be on the start line.

Citing sources close to the matter on Sunday, French daily Le Monde said Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which owns the event, was trying to prevent Froome from starting the race.

Froome remains under investigation after recording an adverse analytical finding for excessive levels of the asthma drug salbutamol following a urine sample during last year's Vuelta a Espana.

Le Monde says Froome will not necessarily attend Tuesday's meeting by the French committee with their ruling due Wednesday.

But he has continued racing in the face of widespread criticism, with Lappartient among those critical of Team Sky's failure to employ the policy of many professional teams in withdrawing a rider from competition when being investigated for a potential doping offence. But he is confident of being cleared of doping after an investigation.

Paul George indicates he feels obligation to Thunder
George said he is considering a lot of factors in making his free agency decision, describing the process as "overwhelming". A young, talented Eastern Conference team like the 76ers would be more appealing for James if LA boasts no All-Star help.

The decision is meant to protect the image of the race because the British rider is at the centre of an ongoing doping case. Froome, 33, became the first Briton to win the race in the Giro's 101-year history after the 115km closed circuit race through the streets of the Italian capital.

Team Sky said: 'We are confident that Chris will be riding the Tour as we know he has done nothing wrong, ' while Froome's wife Michelle told Reuters: 'Chris will ride the Tour'.

He is to be defended by British sports lawyer Mike Morgan, a French speaker, before the UCI tribunal.

Froome, who denies wrongdoing, is out to emulate five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.