French fans should treat Sky with more respect, blasts Brailsford

Ruben Holloway
July 24, 2018

Yellow jersey Geraint Thomas and world champion Peter Sagan were among a number of Tour de France riders affected by a spray used by police to break up a farmers' protest which caused stage 16 of the race to be stopped.

The race continued after the brief hiatus, Reuters says.

Bernal's effort set up Thomas to win the grueling 12th stage to strengthen his hold on the yellow jersey, and for Froome to protect second place in a dominant choral performance by Sky.

It is nothing new for Sky to face hostility in France but the atmosphere has been even darker this year in the wake of Chris Froome's salbutamol case, in which he was cleared of wrongdoing just days before the Tour began.

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Sagan, of the Bora team, is one of the few real sprint specialists still in the race after surviving an Alpine stage trilogy that proved fatal to the hopes of rivals Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Dylan Groenewegen and Fernando Gaviria.

Tomorrow the Tour de France mountain stage with a mountain finish on the second category Cote de La Croix Neuve, with a length of 3 kilometers with an average gradient of 10.1%.

The incident overshadowed a day in which Geraint Thomas comfortably retained the yellow jersey as Magnus Cort Nielsen won his first career Tour stage, outsprinting Jon Izagirre of Bahrain-Merida and Bauke Mollema of Trek-Segefredo to deliver back-to-back wins for Astana.

Thomas and Team Sky have maintained that Froome is the team leader, but the 33-year-old has no issue playing a supporting role for his fellow Brit.

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A gendarme, left, sprays tear gas at protesters as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route of the Tour de France.

Brailsford, who has previously been questioned by a British parliamentary inquiry following allegations Sky had breached ethical guidelines by abusing the legal use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for their riders, hit out at treatment of his team on Monday.

"Gianni is desperately disappointed in his behaviour and knows that he has let himself, the Team and the race down". "I'm sure it will be good to watch, maybe not to race".

The incident contributed to an underlying tension and uncertainty within the team as the Tour unfolded.

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Race organizers have had trouble controlling crowds with fans getting out of hand on the most famous climbs of the Tour.

"The Tour de France is promoted as the world's greatest annual sporting event".

The Tour will finish in Paris on Sunday, where Froome is bidding to make history by winning it for the fifth time and double Olympic champion Thomas is attempting to win it for the very first time.

"As a Frenchman, I'm ashamed", Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said.

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The Welshman leads Sky teammate Chris Froome by 1min 39secs, with Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) third overall at 1:50.

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