MALAGA, Spain — Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome returned to racing on Wednesday despite being under investigation by cycling's world governing body for failing a doping test.
Froome is participating in the five-day Ruta del Sol in southern Spain, an event he won in 2015.
He finished safely in the main bunch on the opening stage between Mijas and Granada, a stage won by France's Thomas Boudat in a sprint finish.
"I know I have done nothing wrong, that's my starting point," Froome said. "There is a process in place for me to be up to demonstrate that, and that's obviously what I intend to do."
Froome has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.
"I do believe that when all the facts are out there I think people will see it from my point of view," Froome said.
If found guilty of doping, the British rider could lose his Vuelta title and be suspended for a long period.
"It was good to be back racing," Froome told Sky Sports News. "What was really touching was how riders from other teams came over to offer their support."