Jerusalem: Reigning champion Tom Dumoulin questioned Chris Froome's participation at the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday, ahead of Friday's 'Big Start' in Jerusalem.
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome is competing despite having returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) during his victory at the Vuelta a Espana in September.
Froome had elevated levels of the asthma medication salbutamol in his system and is fighting a case with cycling's world governing body, the UCI to avoid a doping suspension.
And Dumoulin, the shock winner of the Giro 12 months ago, said that had he similarly returned an AAF, he would have been forced to stand down due to his Sunweb team's membership of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC).
"That's a good one to start with," quipped Dumulin when asked about Froome during his press conference in Jerusalem. "It's his decision to be here. I said it before -- my team is part of the MPCC -- and if I was in the same situation as him, I wouldn't be here."
The MPCC is a group many top-level teams have voluntarily signed up to in order to promote clean cycling.
They are required to suspend riders if they return a positive doping test result pending a decision on their guilt or otherwise.
It also requires riders to be stood down for eight days minimum if they request a therapeutic use exemption allowing them to take an otherwise banned substance.
Froome's Team Sky are not MPCC members and thus the rules don't apply to them, which has left the Briton free to compete normally while his lawyers wrangle with the UCI to try to prove his innocence.
But the fact that his case has dragged on and that no final decision has been taken, is damaging to cycling's credibility, Dumoulin said.
"It's definitely not good for cycling. Everyone would like this to not happen, including Chris Froome," he said.