Chris Froome who had urine thrown on him from a spectator has blamed the media for ‘irresponsible reporting’. Photo: Bryn Lennon Chris Froome says a spectator threw urine over him. Photo: Doug Pensinger
Outraged: Britain’s Chris Froome claims a spectator threw urine in his face during the fourteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race. Photo: Laurent Cipriani
Tour de France 2015: stage 14 results
Mende, France: The calm that is characteristic of Tour de France race leader Chris Froome reached a breaking point on Saturday when the British rider claimed a spectator threw a cup of urine in his face during the 14th stage from Rodez to Mende.
The Team Sky cyclist, who has repeatedly defended himself against claims of using performance enhancing drugs, revealed the incident after Saturday’s 178.5km stage that was won by the British rider Stephen Cummins (MTN-Qhubeka).
“A spectator, about 50-60km into the race threw a cup of urine at me shouting ‘doper’ at me. Obviously, I am extremely disappointed with that,” he said at a press conference after the race.
“We work extremely hard at what we do. For someone to come and disrespect us, that’s not on.
“That’s not in the name of sport. That’s not why we are here.”
But Froome blamed the incident on “irresponsible reporting” rather than the public.
“A lot of the reporting on the race has been very irresponsible. The individuals know who they are.”
Froome did not name names on Saturday, but after stage 12 to Plateau de Beille in the Pyrenees on Thursday, he took issue with former French professional cyclists Laurent Jalabert and Cedric Vasseur who are now both television commentators on the Tour.
Froome said of those who have questioned his performances: “It’s quite rich coming from cyclists like Jalabert and Vasseur to be commentating on my racing in such a way. I think it’s really disappointing.
“Those are the guys that a lot of people look up to. And they are casting doubt on current cycling and a clean cyclists and a clean team.
“These guys are setting the tone for the public, for the fans. And in my view that is not correct.”
The incident against Froome is but the latest to have marred this Tour that finishes next Sunday and in which Froome, the 2013 winner, is the favourite to win overall.
After last Tuesday’s 10th stage from Tarbes to Saint Martin won by Froome, Fairfax Media revealed that his Australian teammate Richie Porte, who placed second on the Pyrenean stage, was punched by a spectator in the ribs with three kilometres to go.
Froome was also booed at the sign-in before Friday’s race from Muret to Rodez started.
Froome has remained calm throughout recent days as he has still answered questions over the legitimacy of his performances as scepticism among some has mounted.
But on Saturday, the urine incident was a tipping point for the Kenyan-born Briton, who finished 20th at 4m 15s to Cummings to extend his overall lead as his main rivals.
This is not the first time that Froome has been targeted by a spectator at the Tour.
In the 2013 Tour he won, Froome reported that he had been squirted with an unknown substance on one stage, and over the entirety of that race punched five times.
He is neither the first to be subjected to such an act. Also in the 2013 Tour, British sprinter Mark Cavendish of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team (now Etixx-QuickStep), had urine thrown at him in stage 11 from Avranches to Mont Saint-Michel.
Understandably, Saturday’s incident not only upset Froome, but also his teammates, one being British rider Geraint Thomas who is fifth overall at 4m 23s to Froome.
“When people start hitting riders and things, that’s when it’s different,” said Thomas.
“You wouldn’t see that in Wimbledon.
“This is the biggest bike race in the worlds, the pinnacle of the sport
Thomas said that Froome has also received messages from people threatening to throw urine and “hit him with a stick.”
He used Saturday’s press conference to criticise sectors of the media who have raised questions over whether he is racing clean or not.
“I certainly wouldn’t blame the public for this, it really is the minority of the people out there ruining it for everyone else out here.
“But I would blame some of the reporting on the race that has been very irresponsible.
“It’s the tone that is set by some of the irresponsible people reporting on the race and they set that tone and people obviously see what they believe in the media. Let me stress, it really is the minority of people who be booing and doing this sort of stuff.
“Porte was punched a few days ago, then the incident today, it’s just not on … not on.”
Froome still went to great lengths in acknowledging Tour supporters in general, thanking the “thousands upon thousands of supporters”.
“It’s been magnificent out there on the road. Really, this sport has been tremendous.
“I want to thank each and every one of those people who have come out to support race, but unfortunately it’s a few people put here who ruin it for everyone else.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.