‘Sky - go home’ ban­ner grabbed by rider from spec­ta­tor

Sport360 - - News - By David Cooper @ Sport360 edi­to­rial@sport360.com

A Team Sky rider snatched away a fan’s ban­ner protest­ing against the team’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Tour de France prior to the start of stage five in Lori­ent.

Lo­cal res­i­dent Di­dier Bre­gardes was stand­ing by the team buses at the start with an A4-sized sign which sim­ply read ‘Sky - Go Home’.

Luke Rowe was iden­ti­fied by on­look­ers inside the pad­dock as the Sky rider in ques­tion but de­nied any knowl­edge of the in­ci­dent.

Bre­gardes said: “The rider came over quickly, grabbed my plac­ard and threw it down.”

Bre­gardes told re­porters his ban­ner was in­tended to protest against the way Team Sky han­dled the Salbu­ta­mol case in­volv­ing Chris Froome, fol­low­ing the test he re­turned with high lev­els of the asthma drug dur­ing La Vuelta last year.

That in­ves­ti­ga­tion - now closed with Froome cleared of wrong­do­ing – took place in the pub­lic gaze fol­low­ing a leak, and Froome an­gered fans by choos­ing to con­tinue to race as it rum­bled on, win­ning the Giro d’Italia in May to hold all three Grand Tour crowns at once.

“When Froome was caught in the act at the Vuelta, the UCI and WADA didn’t re­act,” Bre­gardes said. “I’ve noth­ing against Froome or the rid­ers, but it’s the way the man­ager of Sky, (Sir Dave) Brails­ford, dealt with it.”

Rowe was asked if he took the sign but said: “No, I don’t know what you mean. It wasn’t me.”

The Welsh­man said the re­cep­tion the team had re­ceived had been pos­i­tive fol­low­ing the sig­nif­i­cant boo­ing which greeted Froome at the team pre­sen­ti­a­tion last week.

“I think we got quite a neg­a­tive re­cep­tion go­ing to the stage for the team pre­sen­ta­tion but apart from that it’s been awe­some,” he said.

“I’ve been im­pressed with the French crowds. They’ve been pretty com­pli­men­tary and pos­i­tive to­wards us, which is nice. Of course, for ev­ery thou­sand cheers you might get one neg­a­tive per­son, but you just take it in your stride.

“We’ve got broad shoul­ders – it’s in one ear and out the other.”

Good re­cep­tion: Luke Rowe.

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