Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Tour de France riders sprayed by police tear gas amid farmer's protest

Tour de France riders sprayed by police tear gas amid farmer's protest

"We support and accept the decision by the race organisers to exclude Gianni Moscon from the Tour de France", Brailsford said.

That may be true, but Team Sky doesn't treat the Tour like a popularity contest - it's a race and they are desperate to win it... again.

This Tour has been marred by incidents. Similarly, last September he was the first Brit to win the Vuelta a Espana - the same race in which he returned his AAF.

Lappartient said he believed Brailsford was reacting to the fact that his team has not been popular in France, where their domination of the race in the last few years is reminiscent of that of Lance Armstrong's U.S. Postal in the early 2000s.

Though talented, Moscon is reaching a point where he may be more trouble than he is worth. The International Cycling Union ruled just before the Tour that his sample results did not constitute a breach to the anti-doping rules.

Sky riders have been targeted by boos and jeers on the Tour this year and defending champion Chris Froome was slapped on the shoulder by a fan during a stage this week.

A key member of Team Sky's eight-man squad for the race, the Italian will head home with unanswered questions over his future on the team.

The 2018 Tour has been marred by incidents.

Brailfsord said he has witnessed this type of angry reaction only in France. "I had lots of bad luck", he said. "There's a bit of negativity around and it isn't nice but at the end of the day you need to stay strong in your head and crack on. That's the way I see it really".

Jeff Pachoud  AFP  Getty Images
Jeff Pachoud AFP Getty Images

Team Sky, and Thomas, had continually insisted that Froome was their team leader, but the tone has shifted in recent days and Froome on Monday said he would be happy to help Thomas if necessary.

"But that's no reason to hit out at the French public".

Four-time champion Froome can pull level with the likes of former five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain if he triumphs on the Champs Elysees next Sunday.

"Spectators are becoming more and more demanding and they want to see real excitement", says Luca Guercilena, general manager of the Trek-Segafredo team. "A lot of guys are speaking out about it now, the riders are sick and exhausted of it".

And he believes the personal ambitions of Froome and Thomas could also play a role.

When asked if this could tactically benefit Froome over Thomas, their teammate Rowe responded: "It's the same for both of them because they're both aiming for the same goal".

The Welshman took the Yellow Jersey at the 11th stage of the Grande Boucle and though his position in relation with Chris Froome has been the object of questioning. "I wouldn't give it up for any money".

"The Tour is promoted as the world's greatest annual worldwide sporting event". "I'm taking each day as it comes".

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