Bernard Hinault calls for riders to strike if Chris Froome races in Tour de France

Bernard Hinault has called for riders to strike if defending champion Chris Froome rides in the Tour de France. Getty

Five-times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault has called for riders to strike if defending champion Chris Froome, who is under investigation over an adverse doping test, takes part in this year's race.

Froome tested positive for excessive levels of the asthma drug Salbutamol following a urine sample at last year's Vuelta a Espana.

The 33-year-old has denied any wrongdoing and is confident that he will be cleared after the investigation by the sport's governing body Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

"Christopher Froome should not be at the start of the Tour," Hinault was quoted as saying by British media.

"The peloton should put its feet to the ground and say, if he is starting the race, we won't start.

"Quite simply because he has tested positive, for me this is not an abnormal test. The people at the UCI should have said, you have been caught, so you should not be racing."

Hinaulte has said that Froome should not have been allowed to compete at the Giro d'Italia and that the Briton cannot be listed among the sport's greats.

Team Sky responded to the comments, releasing a statement that read: "It is disappointing that Bernard Hinault has, once again, repeated factually incorrect comments about a case he clearly does not understand.

"His comments are irresponsible and ill-informed. Chris has not had a positive test, rather an adverse analytical finding for a prescribed asthma medication. As an ex-rider himself, Bernard will appreciate the need for fairness for each and every athlete. And at the current time, Chris is entitled to race."

Froome, who has won the Tour de France four times, became the first Briton to win the Giro d'Italia in May.