Tour De France Turns Into Tour De Farce as British Racer Shouts 'F*** You' at Police

Published July 27th, 2018 - 03:00 GMT
Chris Froome's chances of a fifth Tour de France all but disappeared on stage 17 on Wednesday. But his day went from bad to worse when he was forced off his bike by a police officer who had mistaken him for a fan. (Shutterstock/ File Photo)
Chris Froome's chances of a fifth Tour de France all but disappeared on stage 17 on Wednesday. But his day went from bad to worse when he was forced off his bike by a police officer who had mistaken him for a fan. (Shutterstock/ File Photo)

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome was yesterday dragged off his bike by a French police officer who mistook him for a fan in the latest extraordinary incident which has seen the race dubbed the Tour de Farce. 

The gendarme knocked the 33-year-old Team Sky star over and grabbed him by the arm shortly after he had finished stage 17 of the gruelling race.

Froome, who was wearing a large grey coat over his white Team Sky kit as he made his descent alongside his bodyguard, shouted 'f**k you' at the officer, who appeared unapologetic.

It comes a day after Froome and his team mate, race leader Geraint Thomas, were temporarily blinded by pepper spray that drifted downwind when police tried to break up a protest by farmers.

Froome has also been spat at and shoved by angry spectators amid simmering resentment towards Team Sky's domination of cycling's showpiece event. Fellow Briton Thomas yesterday survived an attempt by a fan to pull him from his bike.

Meanwhile, Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford yesterday has apologised for suggesting the nasty reception his team have received at the Tour de France is a 'French cultural thing'.

Froome's chances of a fifth Tour de France all but disappeared on stage 17 on Wednesday. But his day went from bad to worse when he was making his way back down from the summit finish of the Col du Portet.   

There was no room for support vehicles at the summit, meaning competitors who had already finished had to pass back-markers who had yet to finish the course.    

With some riders still clambering towards the finish line, a gendarme mistook the four-time winner for a fan and asked him to stop, causing Froome and his bodyguard to crash.

Pictures and videos were plastered over social media as Froome reacted angrily and shouted 'F**k you' at the police officer, who appeared unapologetic for his actions having grabbed the Briton by the arm.

Froome was not injured in the incident and rode away from the scene. 

Team Sky described it as a misunderstanding and confirmed he was unhurt after having his arm grabbed.  

Race leader Thomas survived an attempt by a spectator to pull him from his bike, just as he attacked to increase his overall time advantage.

Thomas had to fend off a series of attacks to move further clear of both Froome and Tom Dumoulin, before pictures emerged on social media of a fan reaching out to grab Thomas by the arm as he accelerated towards the finish line.

Yesterday, Brailsford apologised for suggesting the nasty reception his team have received at the Tour deFrance is a 'French cultural thing'.

Brailsford took aim at spectators who have jostled and spat at his riders during the race when he said on Monday that it does not happen at other races and was uniquely French.

If he was sorry for his choice of words, Brailsford reiterated his concerns over security on a day when Geraint Thomas extended his lead in the Tour despite a spectator apparently trying to grab him in the final few hundred metres of stage 17, on which he finished third.

He also mentioned the volatile atmosphere at the race when discussing Team Sky's Gianni Moscon, who was disqualified from the Tour on Sunday after lashing out at another rider, Fortuneo-Samsic's Elie Gesbert.

It comes a day after Geraint Thomas and Froome were temporarily blinded by pepper spray that had drifted downwind after police had tried to break up a protest by farmers.  

In another extraordinary incident, Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert was involved in a spectacular crash flipping over a wall on a descents where an Italian rider died in 1995.

The former world champion completed the stage - but it was later revealed he had fractured his kneecap.

With Froome conceding he has little chance of winning after falling further behind on Wednesday, that tension may ease a little.

Froome said the priority now was to make sure that Thomas keeps hold of the yellow jersey.

'It was a tough day, an intense day, but I've got no regrets,' he said. 

'"G" has ridden such an amazing race, he deserves to be in yellow and fingers crossed he holds it now until Paris. We just need to look after him now for these next few days.' 

On Thursday the riders head out of the mountains with a 171km flat stage from Trie-sur-Baise to Pau.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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