Chris Froome and his British Sky team have resigned themselves to the negative atmosphere surrounding them at the Tour de France.
That may well be the only chance for the likes of Greipel and Britain’s Mark Cavendish to add to their impressive tally of stages wins.
Greipel launched his sprint with about 200-metres left and held off Degenkolb to bag his ninth stage win on the Tour.
“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”.
Froome extended his overall lead in the event to more than 3 minutes, and said the incident took place during the early portion of the stage.
Brailsford was a guest on France 2’s post-race coverage when the Tour’s host broadcaster showed an expert poring over footage of Froome’s win at La Pierre-Saint-Martin last Tuesday, when his dominant display attracted innuendo and subsequent interrogations.
Andre Greipel made it a hat-trick of Tour de France stage wins on Sunday as he won the 183km 15th stanza from Mende to Valence.
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. “Of course it helps me that they are looking for my wheel and fighting for my wheel”, said Greipel, who is fondly known as the “Gorilla from Rostock”.
In short, Froome finds himself in the impossible position of being damned by his own success. I could still see Pinot and when the road tipped and went down, the race changed in my favour because I have more kilos and I’m probably more aerodynamic than those two.
“What I am saying is that if people are led to believe that these performances are not legitimate, that’s what’s going to push them to start booing, and to start punching and spitting and throwing urine on riders”, Froome said. “Just to be here as the first African team was already a massive achievement and Mandela Day just gave us an extra push”. From there, he did the rest, choosing just the right time to accelerate away in the last 300 meters (yards).
“I think a lot of guys were killed by the hotel this night”, Lefevere said, noting some noise nearby. “I’m a coach”, he said.
“The news was less good, however, for Cavendish, who has been struggling with stomach problems and was dropped on the day’s first climb”.
Froome finished 23rd, Thomas 35th and Rowe 87th as the top 10 in the overall classification remained unchanged.
Froome certainly seemed on track yesterday, keeping his own pace on the final, decisive ascent to Mende in the face of several probing challenges from Quintana.
The Sky chief called for the UCI to mandate chaperones to accompany teams to look for evidence of doping and repeated his appeal for a “power passport” so that the governing body can compare data for all the teams, but he is no closer to responding to appeals to release any of his leader’s numbers.