Thursday 21 September 2017

Team Sky's Richie Porte claims he was punched by a spectator during Tour de France

Richie Porte sets the pace for his team leader Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey
Richie Porte sets the pace for his team leader Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey

Matt McGeehan

Richie Porte, a key lieutenant to Tour de France leader Chris Froome, claims he was punched and Team Sky has been subjected to abuse from spectators during the 2015 race.

Porte was struck on the first mountain stage, stage 10 to La Pierre-Saint-Martin on Tuesday, as Froome won to take a lead of two minutes 52 seconds, an advantage which remains after Friday's 13th stage to Rodez.

Froome, the 2013 winner, has been under scrutiny due to his superiority and has been forced to counter claims of cheating.

He insists he rides clean but has been subjected to innuendo and interrogations, which Porte railed against on Friday.

Australian Porte told The Telegraph Cycling Podcast: "I was (punched) in the last 3km. I got a full-on punch.

"It was the same atmosphere on Alpe d'Huez two years ago.

"They are so anti whatever we are.

"Do I deserve to be booed? Does Chris Froome deserve all this? I don't think so.

"Maybe in 10 years' time they're going to see that these victories are legitimate.

"It's a disgrace how some of these people carry on."

Porte approached spectators earlier this week after being abused.

"It's a disgrace they say the same thing to Chris Froome," Porte added.

"Just because this team has got its act together.

"We do everything right. Look at the Tour we are having.

"You can't question that we are getting stuck in for Froomey.

"Seven of us at the bottom for him. No other team had that. It's because we are organised and committed."

On the armchair critics, Porte added: "They all have their opinions and not the right ones. They just sit on their couch and criticise."

Froome has a relaxed attitude to the comments.

Porte said: "When they were giving him abuse I heard him laugh about it. He's got a thick skin and you need that in the yellow jersey."

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