Wednesday 21 November 2018

Chris Froome understands attempt to block him racing and urges fans not abuse him during Tour de France

Team Sky's Chris Froome
Team Sky's Chris Froome

Lawrence Ostlere

Chris Froome admitted he understands why race organisers attempted to block him from registering for the Tour de France, as he urged spectators not to abuse him.

On Sunday it was made public that Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) had been working to stop Froome from taking part on grounds that his appearance would damage the image of the Tour, following a positive test for excessive levels of the asthma drug Salbutamol during last year’s Vuelta a Espana.

However the case was concluded on Monday when world cycling’s governing body (UCI) announced that Froome had sufficiently explained the anomalous test result and would not face a suspension from the sport or lose his Vuelta title.

Both Froome and Team Sky have consistently denied any wrongdoing, and the 33-year-old will now take his place on the start line for Saturday’s Grand Depart in Vendee as he attempts to join an elite band of legendary riders to have conquered the Tour de France five times.

“I can understand the decisions they took,” Froome told the media in Vendee on Wednesday. “Of course it has been damaging. As it is I’m now happy to draw a line in the sand and move on.”

Froome has faced abuse from a vociferous minority of spectators in past Tours, and was sprayed with urine in 2015 by one man who yelled “doper” at the British rider.

“Support the race in a positive way, don’t bring negativity,” was his message for roadside fans. “In terms of safety I obviously would encourage fans of the sport to come watch the race, and if you are not necessarily a Chris Froome fan or a Sky fan, come to the race and put a jersey on of another team you do support. That would be my advice.”

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford praised Froome’s attitude ever since it was made public last December that he had recorded an adverse analytical finding.

“This situation has been his worst nightmare but throughout he has maintained his dignity and maintained his performance, winning the Giro and coming here to try to win the double,” Brailsford said. “He’s been exceptional.”

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