Belfast Telegraph

Tour de France: Give Froome a break, says Tour chief


Focused: Chris Froome at the start of yesterday’s stage
Focused: Chris Froome at the start of yesterday’s stage

By Ian Parker

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has called for calm from fans after Chris Froome was slapped and apparently spat at on the climb to Alpe d'Huez on Thursday.

Team Sky's Froome was struck by at least one spectator a little under seven kilometres from the summit of the famous climb, and seemed to be spat at shortly after, on his way to a fourth-placed finish as team-mate Geraint Thomas took victory.

There had been fears about security on the mountain - where large crowds are within touching distance of riders - with Froome still facing lingering ill-feeling among some cycling fans following the salbutamol case in which he was cleared of wrongdoing just days before the Tour began.

Prudhomme described the behaviour of some fans as "immoral" as he called for respect.

"We need to restore calm and respect all the riders," Prudhomme said.

"It was a very annoying climb of the Alpe d'Huez. The riders on the Tour, and champions of the Tour, must obviously be respected, as they are by the large majority of the public.

"By the roadside it was very calm for 10 days, with only a few anti-Froome or anti-Sky placards. But at a stroke, it all went up again.

"I can only renew my appeals for calm, for common sense, with regards to the riders who make up the Tour de France."

World champion Peter Sagan surged late to secure his third victory of the 2018 Tour de France in a bunch sprint finish on stage 13.

Sagan, who also won stages two and five, kicked from deep to edge out Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Demare on the line in Valence.

The Slovak also extended his already-dominant lead in the green jersey points classification.

Team Sky's Thomas held on to the overall leader's yellow jersey.

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