Chris Froome will begin his 2018 season at the Ruta del Sol -- his first race since news broke that he failed a drugs test at the Vuelta a Espana last year.
A cloud still hangs over the Team Sky rider, with an ongoing investigation into the failed test in which Froome had twice the allowed amount of the asthma medication Salbutamol in his system/
Froome is set to race on the roads in Andalucia, Spain from Feb. 14th-18th in a five day event that he won the last time he raced there. However, racing in the event means that he will not be able to accept a backdated doping ban should the possibility arise -- and that comes as UCI president David Lappartient insists that Team Sky should suspend the reigning Tour de France and Vuelta champion until the allegations are cleared up.
On his return, Froome, who has been training in South Africa, said: "I have put in a hard training block in January. It's been good to be out on my bike and to get the miles under my belt.
"It's been a couple of years now since I was last at Ruta del Sol. It's a race I've enjoyed in the past and so I'm looking forward to going back there".
However, Froome also took the chance to address the scandal that is currently looming over him: "I'm confident that we will be able to get to the bottom of what has happened," he said." I'm working hard with the team to do that.
"Obviously I understand that this situation has created a lot of uncertainty. I completely get why there has been so much interest and speculation. "
Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: "We all recognise that these are difficult circumstances but it's important for all sides that this process is conducted fairly before a final conclusion is reached.
"It is a complex situation but we're working as hard as we can with Chris to resolve things as soon as possible".