Chris Froome says he is prepared to race the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France even if the investigation into his adverse drugs test is unresolved.
Froome competes in the Ruta del Sol this week in his first race since the case became public in December.
The Team Sky rider, 32, is targeting a third straight Grand Tour title at the Giro in May.
“I hope it doesn’t get that far but I’m still allowed to race now and I don’t see why not,” he told BBC Sport.
The four-time Tour de France winner has to explain to cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, how he returned double the allowed level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine during his Vuelta a Espana victory in September.
There is no mandatory ban in this type of case and riders usually respond in private, but UCI president David Lappartient has said Team Sky should suspend Froome until the case is resolved.
“This is a process that a lot of other riders have gone through, I don’t see why I should have different treatment to all of them,” said Froome.
“They were all racing in the meantime until they got to the end of their processes.
“It’s not going to go any faster if I was sitting at home. We’re going as fast as we can on it and hopefully get it resolved as soon as possible.”
The five-stage Ruta del Sol, which Froome won in 2015, runs until Sunday.
‘It’s super bad for cycling’
Although Froome is permitted to race while he presents legal and medical evidence to try and clear his name, other riders have criticised his decision to compete.
“It’s super bad for cycling,” said four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin, speaking to CyclingPro before the first stage in La Cala de Mijas.
“I absolutely don’t understand Team Sky and that Froome would come back before this case is really clear – it’s a shame.”
German Martin said he was “angry” that Froome was not immediately suspended when the adverse test was first made public, before later acknowledging the Briton was not receiving preferential treatment.
Speaking outside the Team Sky bus on Wednesday, Froome said he had received “so much support” from other riders and thanked them for reaching out during a “difficult period”.
“The support I have received personally has been amazing but there is a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of opinions of people who don’t quite fully understand the process,” he added.
“But I do believe that when all the facts are out there people will see it from my point of view.”
‘This is the right thing to do’
Team Sky and Froome could have opted for a voluntary suspension once informed of the adverse finding because, if a ban is eventually imposed, this credit could have seen the ban backdated to September, allowing him to return to racing earlier.
Froome announced his intention to ride the Giro in November. Race organiser RCS was unaware of the case and race director Mauro Vegni has subsequently asked the UCI to ensure Froome can only start if his result will stand.
Despite the uncertainty, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said it was “not difficult” to put Froome in the race as he is “100% sure there’s been no wrongdoing”.
“People can have their opinions but on balance I think this is the right thing to be doing and we’re happy that we’re here and ready to race,” Brailsford told BBC Sport.
“Nobody is denying it’s not a challenging situation but equally it’s only fair at this point that everybody abides by the process and the process totally allows somebody to race.
“This part of the process should be confidential let’s not forget, and he hasn’t got an anti-doping rule violation against him – that needs to be taken into consideration. We don’t want to falsely accuse people.”