Cycling chief warns of Tour de France hooligans
Note to Brian:
It's always been that way Brian, and Davey's followed every tour
since the war (1947 to date)
A fan sprays water on France's Thibaut Pinot as he rides in
the Tour de France cycling race on July 25, 2015 .
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - World cycling chief Brian Cookson has warned
of a rise in "hooliganism" on Tour de France routes and said
winner Chris Froome was the target of nasty insults.
After one of the most controversial races in recent years, Cookson
also told AFP in an interview that the number of "tired" riders on
the Tour made him believe tougher doping tests are having an
"There were some regrettable incidents on the tour," the
International Cycling Union (UCI) president said on the sidelines
of International Olympic Committee meetings in Kuala Lumpur.
"I am worried about the beginnings of an element of hooliganism
coming towards our sport which we have largely been able to avoid
in recent years.
"Everyone needs to be a little bit careful for the future."
He pointed out Briton Froome's claims that urine and beer were
thrown at him and crowds spat at him following French media
reports casting doubt on his performances. But there was also
Cookson said the incidents could be "isolated" but had made him
"I think Chris was subjected to a fairly nasty form of antagonism
from a small number of people.
"But there was also a little bit of slightly joking, slightly
hooligan-type behaviour in places with cars being kicked, things
being thrown at cars."
Bearded cross-dressers and fans in superhero outfits have
traditionally mixed with beer-swilling spectators along
routes. But Cookson said French authorities shared his concerns
and warned that the freedom around cycling could be at risk.
"Over the years I have become more and more worried about people
running alongside riders, pushing riders and so on and we are
getting to a point where that's beginning to be a little more
"The Tour, all of cycle racing is a great free sport. It is
possible to get close to the athletes, to the competitors, in a
way that is not really possible in any other sport. If we want
that to continue then we all have a responsibility to behave."
When asked about Froome's treatment, the UCI leader from Britain
said it was not his job "to speak up for or defend any individual
rider or any individual team".
- 'Efficient' drug testing -
"My job is to ensure that the conditions in which our sport takes
place are as fair and equitable as possible and with as much
integrity and impartiality as possible," he said.
Cycling has handed its drug testing over to the independent
Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation in a system hailed by the World
A recent WADA report said that 56 percent of tests on athletes in
all sports with biological passports now concerns cycling. Cookson
said cycling should be "proud" of this record of attention.
"I think we saw some very tired riders during the Tour and one of
the things I take from that is that the dope testing is becoming
ever more efficient.
"Whilst no one likes to see anyone exhausted I think it is a
demonstration that we are constantly lowering the radar.
"People should bear that in mind when they are casting allegations
and aspersions on any individual whoever they may be, whatever
nationality, whatever team" he added, in a further reference to
media attacks on Froome.
Cookson said no UCI official can order a rider to be tested or not
tested. "There isn't a conflict of interest." He also strenuously
denied that Froome's team Sky or any other team got preferential
treatment. "Absolutely not."
"I can give you a personal guarantee that I will never cover up
any anti-doping violation. If we think that someone, whoever it
is, however high, however low, whatever team, whatever
nationality, is involved in an anti-doping violation that can be
prosecuted, then we will prosecute," the UCI president vowed.
Davey Crockett says Check out the Vuelta
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