Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Fans continue to taunt Chris Froome at the Tour de France

Jeff Pachoud  AFP  Getty Images Jeff Pachoud AFP Getty Images
Eugene Bates | 24 July, 2018, 20:31

Cycling - Tour de France - Rest day - Carcassonne, France, July 23, 2018.

International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient urged Sir Dave Brailsford on Tuesday not to insult French fans after the Team Sky principal said spitting and booing at riders was a "French thing".

Sky has uncommon wealth, vast ambition and an ability to stock its roster with riders with the talent to lead any squad in the peloton--all of which has created an unexpected headache.

Team Sky have won five of the past six yellow jerseys on the Tour, beginning with Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Froome in 2013 and 2015-2017.

Will Chris Froome attack Geraint Thomas, or will the defending champion support the current yellow jersey holder?

"We raced in Italy and Chris' case was open when we were at the Tour of Italy and the Italians were fantastic, to be fair to them", Brailsford said.

"I don't think spitting and throwing things really has a base in professional sport, nor in everyday life". This year's stage features the Col de Portet d'Aspet, where Fabio Casartelli crashed and died in 1995, and the Col de Mente, another famous mountain pass where Luis Ocana fell and lost the Tour in 1971.

Jeff Pachoud  AFP  Getty Images
Jeff Pachoud AFP Getty Images

Froome has said all along he was aiming to come good in the third week, but dismissed the idea that he was plotting points on the race route to attack Thomas. "In stage races, the shorter they are, the better it is". "It's not up to us to be attacking".

Sky's domination for the fourth consecutive year could mean the team's sixth Tour crown from the past seven editions.

"We're in this awesome position and it's not up to us to be attacking", Froome said. "It's for all the other riders in the peloton to make up time on us and dislodge us from the position we're in".

"I've learned a lot about his mental strength, the "never say die" attitude and how you deal with everything that's thrown at you in this race - that's what's most impressive".

The Tour is no ordinary sporting event and Team Sky is no ordinary team.

'I don't know how people are going to react but it's not going to calm people down, ' Brailsford added.

With a final climb of 16 kilometers at an average gradient of more than eight percent, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme hopes it will be a "dynamite stage".

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