Relieved Chris Froome says ready to focus on Tour de France

Ruben Hill
July 9, 2018

Four-time victor Chris Froome was roundly booed by the crowd that gathered for the teams presentation of the Tour de France in a small town in the west of France on Thursday evening (July 5).

As Team Sky - and Froome - were introduced to the crowds, they were met with boos and whistles alongside the clapping and cheering of fans. In his letter, Froome erroneously called for the publication of the studies that showed this.

Sir Bradley Wiggins believes anti-Team Sky sentiment within cycling led to details of Chris Froome's Salbutamol case being leaked in December.

With the anti-doping investigation behind him, if perhaps not all of its ramifications, Froome's next challenge is trying to become the first man to do a Giro-Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998 - a mission that begins with stage one from Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile to Fontenay-le-Comte on Saturday.

Despite the news, however, the Team Sky rider told BBC Sport he was expecting "confrontation".

Froome could face hostile crowds throughout the race as he seeks a record-equalling fifth Tour crown and fourth in a row, but his team-mate Geraint Thomas is not unduly concerned.

And five-time Tour victor, Frenchman Bernard Hinault, called for other riders to strike in protest against Froome.

The teams all did a small circuit of the town of La Roche-sur-Yon and there were incidents witnessed on the 1km circuit where roadside spectators shouted insults at the 33-year-old Kenyan-born Briton.

Then on Thursday, rival Bardet - the host country's best hope - stressed: "The decision has been made by the authorities and it is all about respecting that decision".

Sky team principal Sir Dave Brailsford hailed his star rider for the way he had handled himself.

"Without the leak we wouldn't even know about it, but that's the nature of the sport now", the 2012 Tour victor said on Eurosport's The Bradley Wiggins Show.

"But the peloton will protect him, the police will protect him and the (Tour organisers) ASO will protect him", insisted the veteran of 20 Tour de France races.

"Chris has shown great strength and integrity while also maintaining his form".

Froome said that he had been cleared of wrongdoing "after nine months of meticulous analysis" of the so-called adverse analytical finding (AAF).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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