Floyd Landis: Ban for Chris Froome could mark end of Team Sky

Chris Froome celebrates with Sir Dave Brailsford at the Tour de France. Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images

Former road cyclist Floyd Landis has warned that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) investigation into Chris Froome's use of salbutamol could lead to the downfall of Team Sky, should it end with a ban for the British rider.

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome, 32, is under scrutiny from cycling's governing body after a urine test submitted during the 2017 Vuelta a Espana -- which he won to secure a historic double -- revealed the British rider had double the permitted level of the asthma medication in his system.

Although both Froome and Team Sky deny any wrongdoing, the rider faces the prospect of a ban and risks being stripped of his Vuelta title if he is unable to provide an adequate explanation for the result.

Landis saw his 2006 Tour de France victory scratched off after he tested positive for drugs.

"When you have someone that high-profile who suffers a ban, it usually means the whole thing implodes," Landis told The Guardian.

"If I was on the board of directors or an executive at Sky or any of the companies who sponsor them, I would be long gone. At some point, they have to make a decision that looks ethical."

Despite Team Sky's regular insistence that it employs a zero-tolerance doping policy, the investigation into Froome is the latest controversy to threaten the reputation of Sir Dave Brailsford's team.

It follows revelations from former coach Shane Sutton regarding therapeutic use exemption (TUE) usage and a UK anti-doping investigation into allegations made against Sir Bradley Wiggins, with Landis believing the team's assertions to be nothing more than a PR stunt.

"We can take from what Shane has said [that] they were at least pushing the limit with certain things," added the American, who provided testimony of widespread doping in cycling to contribute to the downfall of Lance Armstrong.

"Now, with Froome's failed test, if you take all those things together, there's no defending that team. Any reasonable person would have more questions," continued Landis.

"There's no belief in that zero-tolerance system anymore; that was never a real thing. It was just great PR about marginal gains and all these cute little sayings they thought up."

While the UCI probe continues, Froome is still eligible to compete in competitions and has already outlined his plan to participate in this year's Giro d'Italia -- the only Grand Tour he is yet to win.