Watch Chris Froome Punch Fan on Video During Tour de France Stage Eight
Watch the Tour de France leader lash out at a supporter during stage eight...
The offending supporter began to chase the road cycling race as stage eight of the Tour passed through Bagneres-de-Lucon in the Pyranees on Saturday, and wearing a Colombian shirt, flag and sassy blonde wig, it can be assumed that the supporter was:
- a) Paying homage to the great mop haircut of Colombian football hero Carlos Valderrama
- b) A supporter of Froome’s closest Tour rival Nairo Quintana
- c) Trying to piss Froome off by waving a big flag in his face, and subsequently
- d) A bit of a bell-end
Now, while Froome would be fined 200 francs by the Tour for “inappropriate behaviour", it’s safe to say that nobody on the Tour really begrudged him doing this all that much.
The victimised Colombian dude was clearly out to be a nuisance. We all have that one mate who sometimes dresses up and gets a bit noisy from time to time, goes out of their way to cause a bit or carnage, and who has the ability to surprise you merely by existing and not getting. This guy just didn’t get so lucky – and given that Froome had urine thrown over him at the Tour last year, it was surely only going to be a matter of time until he lashed out in some form.
Moreover, the punch from the Kenyan-born Brit wasn’t anything more than a bid to get the guy out of eyesight and let Froome get on with his race, and the fine reflects that. The equivalent of £157 presumably isn’t that much for a dude who’s won the Tour de France twice.
Addressing the matter later, Froome said: “This guy in particular was running right next to my handlebars that had a flag that was flying behind him. It was just getting dangerous, so I pushed him away.
“I lashed out and pushed him away. It's fantastic having so many fans out on the route but please, please, I urge the fans: don't try and run with the riders. It's really dangerous for the guys behind."
It only got worse the following day as well, as New Zealand cyclist George Bennett was forced to effectively flatten a supporter who inexplicably stepped out onto the road on a bend during stage nine:
Neither of those incidents are the first time fans have caused havoc on the Tour this year, of course. While barriers for the final few kilometres normally slant away from the cyclists and mean the fans can’t get close enough to harm, other barriers do not provide this protection – as Sam Bennett found out when he went down on stage one to a Tour de France crash blamed on a supporter’s arm, and broken his collarbone in the process – and of course in the mountains the roads are rightly not guarded at all.
Some of the most iconic shots in Tour history have come as a result of fans crowding narrow roads which riders sprint through two-abreast, but as the leading man for the most gruelling endurance test in world sport, we can see why Chris Froome gets a little bit anxious about outside intervention.
It was a great weekend for Froome otherwise, breaking away on the descent on that eighth stage to take the yellow jersey with commendable courage and serious skill and defending the jersey on Sunday as most of the GC contenders stayed in the peloton.
It could be some year for Froome if he does indeed do what is now becoming the expected and wins his third Tour de France before competing for gold at the road cycling in the Olympic Games in Rio in August.
Alberto Contador meanwhile has dropped out after a torturous start to the race that saw two brutal Tour de France crashes in the first two days.