SKY Coach Says Hinault Remarks Dangerous, Worries For Froome's Safety

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(AFP) – French cycling legend Bernard Hinault labelling Chris Froome a 'cheat' and demanding the Englishman's Tour de France rivals strike could provoke a violent backlash against the rider from spectators, Team Sky's coaching guru told Friday's edition of The Guardian.

Tim Kerrison—speaking to the newspaper in Monaco as Team Sky finetune their preparations for this year's Tour beginning on July 7—said Froome's safety is at risk "if things are presented in a way that incites or sensationalises."

Froome was found to have twice the permissible amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system in last September's Vuelta a Espana, which he won, before also winning May's Giro d'Italia, becoming the first man to hold all three Grand Tours at once since Hinault in 1983.

The four-time Tour de France champion insists he has not broken any rules, but Hinault says Froome is a cheat and that, as cycling authorities dither, rider power should be exerted.

"The peloton should just stop and strike, saying 'if he's on it, we're not,'" Hinault told AFP on Wednesday.

Kerrison—who was an Australian swim coach till 2008 when English cricket thought they had secured his services only for British cycling chief and now Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford to pinch him from under their noses—says he has no doubts 33-year-old Kenya-born Froome will emerge with his reputation intact. But he takes issue with how long the process is taking to reach a decision.

The Australian's main concern, though, is that Hinault and others' comments on the matter will stoke up spectators who, unlike with most sports, are able to crowd round the riders especially on the mountain stages.

"If things are presented in a way that incites or sensationalises, or fuels anger or resentment towards Chris, then I don't think that's very responsible," said Kerrison.

"I think fair treatment in the media is a responsible requirement to ensure the riders' safety."

'Feels A Sense Of Injustice'

With emotions running high Kerrison told the paper that aside from Froome's ever present bodyguard—who has been a feature for a while—the team has also consulted with security experts.

"We have been talking for a long time about safety and security and we had a couple of (satellite broadcaster) Sky's security team come to spend time with us, just to advise us on how we operate and can improve our safety and security at races.

"Our experience of riding in France and our experience of the public has been fantastic.

"But we also know there will also be a small part of the crowd who will be hostile and a few people who are haters and are particularly hostile."

Kerrison, who was also responsible for former Team Sky leader Bradley Wiggins's victories in the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France the same year, said Froome may seem calm on the outside but the barbs being aimed at him do hit the target.

"Chris is human and it's only natural that he feels a sense of injustice over the way he's been treated or reported," said Kerrison.

"But when it's time to focus on his performance, he's uniquely good at putting all that to one side and delivering."

Jakobsen Seriously Hurt As Horror Crash Scars Tour Of Poland

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The first stage of the Tour of Poland ended in a horror crash on Wednesday which saw Dutch rider Fabio Jakobsen thrown over a barrier at 80km/h while others crumbled to the ground in a desperate attempt to avoid a pile-up.

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Tour Champ Egan Bernal Wins Route d'Occitanie Overall

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Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal secured the overall victory in the Route d'Occitanie on Tuesday, underlining his prowess ahead of cycling's most prestigious race which starts later this month.

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Bernal Triumphs In Pre-Tour Mountain Test

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Team Ineos' defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal marked out his territory on Monday climbing to a summit finish victory on stage three of the French Route d'Occitanie.

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Tour de France Start From Copenhagen Delayed From 2021 To 2022

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The planned start of the Tour de France from Copenhagen, scheduled for 2021, has been pushed back to 2022 to avoid an overlap of sporting events disrupted by Covid-19, the city's mayor said Monday.

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Bernal & Froome Keep Pace As Colbrelli Wins Occitanie Second Stage

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Italian sprinter Sonny Colbrelli of the Bahrain-McLaren team won a bunch sprint on stage two of the four-day French Route d'Occitanie race on Sunday after a 174.5km run from Carcassonne to Cap Decouverte.

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How to Watch: 2020 Challenge du Mont Ventoux

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Here's how to watch the 2020 Challenge du Mont Ventoux on FloBikes.

Join The Live Conversation During Strade Bianche

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Armchair commentators and pundits rejoice! FloBikes will be unveiling a new feature during Saturday’s broadcast of the 2020 Strade Bianche.

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Favorites & Underdogs For The Women's Strade Bianche

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After a five month hiatus, the women's WorldTour returns to action at Strade Bianche. 

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Strade Bianche is the first WorldTour race of the restarted 2020 season.

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25 Terms Every Cyclist Should Know

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Before a novice can really learn to love, appreciate, scrutinize, and grasp the big picture and minute details of a sport, they must have a basic knowledge of the common terminology that goes along with it.