RODEZ, France (AFP) — Richie Porte (Sky) says he was punched by a spectator while helping Chris Froome to victory on Tuesday’s 10th stage of the Tour de France.
Froome won the mountain stage that finished in the Pyrenees at La Pierre-Saint Martin, with Porte passing Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to take second place in a Team Sky 1-2.
But the 30-year-old Australian, who will leave Sky at the end of the season, told the Telegraph Cycling Podcast that his team is being targeted by roadside spectators because of its success.
“I was (punched) in the last 3km. I got a full-on punch,” said Porte.
“It was the same atmosphere on Alpe d’Huez two years ago.”
Froome won the Tour in 2013 after a pairing of stunning stage wins up to Ax 3 Domaines and Mont Ventoux, meaning that by the time he reached the Alps, and Alpe d’Huez, his Tour victory was virtually already sewn up.
Porte said the Sky riders, and Froome in particular, are paying for negative speculation that they are doped.
“They are so anti-whatever we are. Do I deserve to be booed? Does Chris Froome deserve all this? I don’t think so.
“Maybe in 10 years’ time they’re going to see that these victories are legitimate.
“It’s a disgrace how some of these people carry on.”
But while Porte argued with spectators earlier this week after being abused, he says his team leader, also 30, is handling it much better.
“When they were giving him abuse I heard him laugh about it. He’s got a thick skin and you need that in the yellow jersey.”