Chris Froome finishes 10th in Spain amid case over failed drug test

Chris Froome was unable to impose himself on his return to action at the Ruta del Sol in Spain. JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images

British cyclist Chris Froome has finished 10th at the Ruta del Sol in his first competition since news of his failed drugs test broke.

The four-time Tour de France winner started the final day of the race in 14th and could only manage to elevate himself to 10th in the closing stages -- finishing almost two minutes off the pace.

Belgian rider Tim Wellens emerged victorious in a time of 17 hours 41 minutes and 50 seconds with Froome's Dutch Team Sky teammate Wout Poels eight seconds behind in second place. Home cyclist Marc Soler of Movistar completed the top three.

"Obviously I was coming here for my first race of the season and didn't know where the form was at," Froome said. "This is all part of my build-up now towards my Giro d'Italia but I was probably expecting a little bit better."

Froome is under investigation by the sport's world governing body, UCI, after a test found double the permitted allowance of asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine on his way to the Vuelta a Espana victory in September.