MENDE, France: Chris Froome said he is not scared after being attacked by a spectator with urine during the Tour de France and is resigned to paying for the sins of others.
The 30-year-old Briton had a cup of urine thrown over him during Saturday’s 14th stage, a few days after Sky teammate Richie Porte was punched during the summit finish to the 10th stage.
But Froome said he is not intimidated by the hostile atmosphere he and his Sky team face at times.
“I’m not scared about this, I just hope it doesn’t interfere with the racing,” said the Kenyan-born Briton. “That’s why we’re all here, we’re just here to race bikes at the end of the day.”
“I just hope it doesn’t interfere with how the race pans out. I’m staying extremely focused on the job I’m here to do, I’m not going to let anything throw me off my race,” he added.
Both Froome, 30, and Sky have faced hostility from fans and media alike who suspect them of cheating.
Froome has been accused not only of doping but also of using a motorized bicycle after producing some stirring performances, such as his stage 10 win on Tuesday where he rode off up the climb to La Pierre-Saint Martin, leaving all his rivals floundering.
But he says it is a burden he and Sky must carry due to cycling’s sordid doping past – most notably that of Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour titles after being caught using banned substances.
“If this is part of the process we have to go through to get the sport to a better place, then I’m here doing it,” said Froome.
“I’m not going to give up the race because a few guys are shouting insults at us. If this is the legacy handed to us before us by the people who won the Tour only to disappoint the fans a few years later, this is the situation we’re in,” he added.
“But as a peloton – and I can’t speak for every rider – but for myself I know I’m clean, I know what I’ve done to get here. Of course it’s disappointing but what can we do? From a rider’s point of view, we’re doing the right things, we’re trying to speak up for clean cycling, we’re trying to change that image,” Froome said.
Although Froome and Porte were victims of separate incidents with spectators, the race leader said it was journalists not fans who are to blame.