There’s been a lot of talk recently about the negative sentiment held in France towards Team Sky and their British leader Chris Froome.
The Tour de France contender has accused local media of painting a poor picture of him around the country, and the roadside negativity peaked last weekend when a cup of urine was thrown in his face about 50km into stage 14.
The shocking incident occurred as the Tour headed to Mende on Saturday, with Froome stating that he and his teammates saw a bystander shout “doper” before throwing the cup, a reference to the doping accusations recently circulating against him.
“A small cup of urine was thrown at me,” he said, speaking after the race. “That’s not acceptable. We are professional – for someone to come and do that… It’s not on.
“It really is a minority of people out there – some have been very irresponsible. Those individuals know who they are. And it’s individuals, all the others have been fantastic and supportive. What those fans are doing is not acceptable.
“I want to thank the thousands of supported we did have out there. Unfortunately it’s a few individuals who are ruining the race.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time a British rider has had urine thrown in their face on the Tour. In 2013, Mark Cavendish was subject to the same thing on a time trial stage of the legendary race.
Team Sky member Richie Porte was also struck on the ribs while racing up the La Pierre-Saint-Martin last week, and apparently spat on last Saturday, and the team have had objects thrown at them mid-ride as well, with various people blaming French media for the attacks.
“Some French media are over doing it,” Sky Sports’ director Nicolas Portal told Cycling Weekly. “They are asking questions that they can ask… but when you do that you put the doubts in the public.
“I hope the public will chill out. It’s pretty hard.”
Certainly, the words of former cycling professional Laurent Jalabert caused quite a stir after Tuesday’s stage, where he noted: “It feels a little uncomfortable seeing the ease of Sky when contrasted with the distress experienced by the first three of the Tour last year.”
Many believe that it’s these kinds of comments that have worked up the French, with Froome calling the remarks “really disappointing” and claiming they “are setting the tone for the public” and are subsequently behind the recent hit outs.
Security has now been increased around the Team Sky bus at the start and the finish of each stage, but Chris Froome insists it isn’t going to let it interfere with his efforts in the legendary competition.
“I’m staying extremely focused on my job I’m Here to do. I’m not going to let anything put me off…”
He continued: “I’m not scared about this. I just hope it doesn’t interfere with the racing. That’s why we’re all here.
“I’m staying extremely focused on my job that I’m here to do. I’m not going to let anything put me off.”
It’s certainly ridiculous to see such outrageous attacks on the biggest stage of the road cycling world, so here’s hoping the fans simmer down and the anger fades away. We certainly can’t see it affecting Mr. Froome and co. on their way to the top regardless.