Froome punches spectator, 2016 Tour de France
  • MattHurst

    I concur.

  • Agreed. Nothing near equal stakes in that split second interaction. CF has everything to lose by not protecting the time, effort and investment he has put in to be in that position. Some yahoo without common sense shouldn’t put themselves in a position to negate that effort, and if they do, they should be handled quickly. I’ve also appreciated it when other spectators step in and intervene, possible it shouldn’t be on the riders alone.

  • Harvey Yates

    Well written article. Bravo.

  • Torontoflatlander

    100% agree. Now this guy gets to tell his kids about the time he got punched by a winner of the Tour De France. He should really be thanking Froome.

    • Deloris Hernandez

      <<o. ?????:?????:?????:?????:?????:?????:?????:?????:?????:?????:::::::!bq940p:….,.

  • marcus_moore

    The number of virtual 200 Swiss franc fines I have is incalculable – so many times I’ve wanted to jump through the TV screen & do “a Froome” while those idiots have been running beside, in front & all around the riders!!!!

  • ebbe

    Don’t really have a opinion on the punch, do feel that fans need to get out of the way. By more than 10 cm ;-)

    However, I will point out that Cycling Tips has used the logic “Not contesting the repercussions (the fine in this case) equals admitting you were wrong” in other cases. Does this logic also apply here, or does Froome get a free pass from this logic, merely because he’s Froome?

    • Neal Rogers

      I can’t speak for the past stories/logic you’re referring to, but from my point of view, the same would apply no matter who the rider was.

      • ebbe

        Does that mean Sky has admitted Froome was wrong to hit the running-spectator, through not contesting the fine?

        Not that I’d say this is the case, I don’t have a strong opinion on the punch, but consistent logic would suggest so.

        Or, does the “not contesting equals admission of fault” logic not hold?

        • Lowland Dair

          I don’t think Sky care about EUR200.

          • ebbe

            Neither do I. Although with the GBP tanking 200CHF could me about a million GBP by now ;-)

            However, it was explicitly said that it is irrelevant why you do not contest. The mere fact that you’re not contesting is an admission of wrongdoing. So, does that logic apply here also, or only to non-Brits? ;-)

            • Sean Doyle

              Maybe they just don’t care if he is ‘guilty’ or not. He is still upright and in the Tour.

              • ebbe

                That flies in the face of everything Neals wrote here.

                This discussion isn’t about whether sky cares if he is guilty of any wrongdoing. It’s whether he is. What you’re now basically saying is that pro forma fines is a good way to deal with matters of wrong and right. Everybody sort of gets their way, a “signal was sent” but nothing actually changes. I’d question that.

                The question I posed was: Is the “not contesting equals admission of guilt” applicable to British Cycling elites, or only to amateurs? I’m sure you’d agree, as Neals seems to do, that we have to hold elites to the same standards as everybody else ;-)

                • Sean Doyle

                  The whole subject hurts my head to be honest. Chris hits rider. Chris gets fined according to the rules of the UCI. Chris accepts that he was deemed to have broken those rules. Chris goes and rides his bike.

                  Whether that’s an admission or not I don’t know. He may feel justified that he struck the jovial emanater and that he remained upright. Is it worth the mental energy to fight it even if you think you were justified? Why are we reading so much more into the incident? Yes I agree that even on the sports field, the players should still follow the social accepted norms of behaviour. At all levels. No excuses.


                  • ebbe

                    Agreed. That’s (part of) why I don’t have an opinion on the punch. But I do have a opinion on consistency in applying logic ;-)

                    • Dave

                      Going on your posts so far, it would seem that opinion on consistency in applying logic is “neither necessary or desirable.”

                    • ebbe

                      For some people that’s indeed the case. For many people actually. Doesn’t mean I have to agre with them and keep my opinions to myself

                      If you have an opinion on my consistency, let’s have it. Until now you’ve not been able to refute any of my logic, also in earlier iscussions. You’ve tried to win discussions by misrepresenting facts (Europe tour is not continental level you say?), so I’d be interested in what you’ve got Dave;-)

                    • Dale Smith

                      Answering your initial comment, YES, Sky are admitting Froome was wrong to punch the spectator by not contesting. I think that logic is sound and I don’t think CT says anything here that goes against it. ( I can imagine Dave B having a little word is his ear to the tune of “just be careful mate”. )
                      Everyone makes mistakes, some big and some small. I think team sky are saying Froomey made a mistake and 200swiss francs pretty much covers it. Job done.

                    • Nuna Ya

                      Shut up you moron

      • eminusx

        The fact that the fine was so small suggests it was merely a hand slap gesture from the UCI for Froome, if they truly believed he was at fault (which he wasnt, and they clearly agree!) the fine would have been considerably larger, the miniscule fine will have precisely the opposite effect of what they were trying to achieve. This blaise response by UCI simply trivialises and diverts attention from the inherent danger caused by reckless roadside fans.

        A truly gutless response by an organisation whose sole existence is the protection and preservation of the sport.

        • Dave

          The UCI disciplinary regulations say the penalty for the relevant offence is 50 to 200 CHF, so he actually got the maximum penalty.

          That might be nothing when James Murdoch is paying the bills, but for an amateur rider on a Continental team it would be a different story.

          If cycling is to grow up, there needs to be reform to the disciplinary regulations so they scale up according to a rider’s yearly salary/endorsements.

          • eminusx

            ah ok, thanks, didnt realise that was the maximum. Yes totally agree the fines need to reflect the rider or teams status, otherwise theyre just meaningless / disproportionate.

            I still think UCIs response to this is gutless and hypocritical, they need to do everything they can to ensure rider safety. If a fan goes onto a race track and gets hit by a car its their own fault, thus it should be made clear that fans who jeopardise riders safety on the road risk being forcibly moved out of the way, the boundaries need to be made clear.

      • Ragtag

        Agree and good article Neal.

    • Sam

      Of course it was wrong! 200chf showed how wrong it was :)

      • Marty Muller showed how wrong the UCI was

        • ebbe

          But Sky didn’t contest, and therefore admitted they are in the wrong… Right? ;-)

          • Dave

            No, that only means they admitted that it happened and says nothing about the motive.

            It’s the same as Femke van den Driessche. We have no idea whether she thinks what she did was wrong or not (probably not, if she got her morals from her family upbringing) but only that she admitted it happened.

            • ebbe

              I agree with that. Froome admitted that it happened, does not necessarily admit he is at fault or did something wrong (on purpose). The same with Yates… However, we’ve seen Cyclingtips misuse this logic before, indeed to condemn Van Den Driescche. Her not contesting the ban was seen by authors and commenters as an admission of (intent to) cheat.

              So, do we now have to conclude that British Cycling elites are given a free pass, where Belgian amateurs are not?

              • Dave

                Of course not. The British rider got the maximum penalty that the the UCI regulations allow for the relevant offence, while the Belgian rider got the minimum fine and a mid-range suspension.

                Froome should appeal his harsh treatment, which is clearly the result of racial discrimination. Just as having an African-American POTUS has not stopped discrimination against African-American people, it appears that the discrimination against the British in cycling is too entrenched to be undone by the election of a British President of the UCI.

                • ebbe

                  Ah, you still believe Yates used a banned substance without getting the exempt (which is his responsibility and his alone) “by accident”? ;-) So you’re allowing BC elites more privileges than belgian amateurs as well.

                  • Dave

                    I was referring to Froome, not Yates.

                    Yates got the appropriate penalty for the circumstances under the current version of the WADA Code, one which was the same as the previous rider from mainland Europe in similar circumstances.

                    Maybe it’s only the African-born British that the UCI discriminates against.

                    • ebbe

                      Aha. That was unclear, thanks

                      Anyway, I’m sure you’ve realised by now – that you’ve had a chance to re-read my comments – that I’m not talking about the UCI, but about the media, and by extension the fans. There is no way you can deny Froome and Yates getting the velvet glove treatment, while Van Den Driescche was shot down even before anybody knew what was going on.

                      If you feel like arguing aganst that, go ahead and read some of the articles and comments right here on Cyclingtips on the three cases. Authors and commenters have
                      – praised Froome
                      – excused Yates
                      – lynched Van den Driescche

                      While essentially, all cases are the same: Something bad happened, which is in all three cases clearly a breach of rules (or law even). They offered an explanation, but did not contest the sanction. That is what my initial remark was about, not about the UCI

                    • Dave

                      There is no inconsistency.

                      Froome’s action could be excused as a defensive ‘push’ rather than a strike (it was clearly seen that he opened his hand) and there has accordingly been a split of opinions on the issue.

                      The independent tribunal was satisfied that Yates made an administrative error. The media recognised that the tribunal made a fair and just determination after examining the relevant precedents, and accordingly called him an idiot rather than a cheat.

                      On the other hand, there is absolutely no good reason for Cheater McCheaterface to have a motorbike in her race pit. The intent to cheat is demonstrated by the actions.

                    • ebbe

                      Yep, thanks for illustrating my point, mr “Europe tour is not continental” ;-)

      • ebbe

        As Dave Brailsford says: You are either wrong or right. You can’t be a bit wrong today and not tomorrow ;-)

  • Michael

    The beauty of the sport is the openness and the fact that you do not need to buy a ticket. But, the fans need to show restraint. We have seen it a hundred times where they misjudge the speed of the riders, they focus on one and don’t realize another is approaching. Mobile phones and their cameras have made it even worse. All those moto’s on the road and why can’t they do a better job keeping the fans back? Well written. We all know the race organizers and UCI will “look into it” if there was an incident, but that doesn’t get the rider back, uninjured back into the race when it goes wrong.

  • WFDT

    Anytime a spectator sets foot on the playing ground they should be prepared to be leveled by the athletes there. It’s akin to climbing into a lion cage.

    • SE9F

      Like Mike Curtis of the Baltimore Colts tackling a fan who ran out on the football field during the game. If that guy’s flag had brought down Froome, only Froome would be crying. No penalty,
      of course, to the thoughtless idiot who caused the accident.

  • Oldan Slo

    And in another corner of France, Nacer Bouhanni weeps.

    • Lowland Dair

      Maybe Froome doesn’t have weak skin that splits and gets infected and then doesn’t bother getting it treated?

    • Dave

      Also weeping is Nacer Bouhanni’s infected hand.

  • Ghisallo

    If you ask me, Mr. “Look at me! I’m in a chicken suit!” got off lightly. Now if we can get Froome to clear the slopes of these obnoxious attention-seekers at the Tour of California we’d really be making progress.

  • Orange_bike

    In any other sport, a spectator running on the playing field would be tackled by security. Maybe riders should get bonus points for the most aggressive rider of the day if they bop a spectator who was in the way.

    • Chuck6421

      Exactly what I was thinking, and looking for the chance to add.

    • Peter

      Who needs security? Just need to take a lesson from Andrew Symonds…..

    • Liam Hodgkinson

      Is it time to add another coloured jersey and competition within the TdF? My suggestion is “The Eye of the Tiger” and maybe black, orange, with a cool Tiger eye on the front & back. Points awarded for aggressive riding, holding your line, supporting your fellow riders by clearing obstacles.

  • jules

    the riders should be issued cattle prods on the climbs.

    it might stop them climbing in close bunches too

  • George Darroch

    The problem is ASO and the UCI, for encouraging this behavior. In Australia you would face consequences for interfering with a race – but in Europe, seemingly nothing. The barriers at the top of climbs are an improvement, but the whole ‘running man’ scene should stop. These idiots are not the devil, they’re just idiots who deserve to be pushed out of the way.

  • David Shelmerdine

    When i was leading the TDF years ago…I punched everyone i could..just because..and I liked it….

    • blair houghton

      Maybe that’s the issue then. Froome wasn’t leading. He was behind Quintana at least.

  • Steel

    I feel this article needs a better headline. Yellow Chicken man winged by yellow jersey?

    • Lowland Dair

      I don’t think he was winged. He was debeaked.

    • jules

      had his wings clipped!

  • Il_falcone

    Froomey did the right thing and the UCI fining him definitely sends the wrong message IMHO. I propose not fining them and silently hoping that more of those idiots got punched as heavily that the very same person will not do it again soon. Not sure if this significantly changes anything because those are idiots and idiots are idiots because they are resistant to learning. But maybe it would lessen their number in the long run.
    It’s a shame that Nacer B. never makes it into the front groups on those climbs. He would probably be the undisputed leader in the KOP classement.

  • CrampAndGoSlow

    Stand back, watch, and cheer. But when the jackasses are around, don’t be silent, folks.
    Call them out. Crowd shame them. Push them back in line. It’s up to responsible fans to act.

    It would help if the TV producers would stop televising these assheads and their antics. That just puts more of them on the road.
    And I wish the police would pummel the creeps with smoke flares.

    Clearly these miscreants have never raced or even ridden a bike at their physical and psychological limits.

  • 30+ year veteran cyclist

    Part of the appeal of the Tour De France is the accessibility the sport has for it’s spectators and I think it is wonderful to be able to be a few feet away from your favorite athlete, but the problem with some spectators is how the fans are portrayed by the television crew. They seem to focus on the odd people dressed in costumes and fans seem to think running with the cyclist is like running with the bulls. I think the fans are basically harmless and just want to act silly in front of a camera, but they are placing everyone at risk including themselves by their behavior.

    But is that a right to punch someone though? I only ask this question by looking at how cycling is becoming more of a violent contact sport as opposed to riding on your own merits while respecting your opponent. Just look at the first day of the race where there were head butts and elbow hitting between the cyclist during the last kilometer of the final sprint. I thought cycling was about finding out who was the fastest or who had the most stamina during a hard long ride, not who was the best puncher of the group. I am very disappointed in how the sport is turning out and Froome’s lack of remorse for punching a fan acting stupid makes me wonder about the sport in general.

    I understand a right to protect yourself if a spectator were attacking you but this individual was just acting stupid, perhaps if the organizers, TV crew, and race directors made it perfectly clear to the pubic that they are not allowed to run along side the athletes or blocking their path we wouldn’t have to have this conversation at all.

  • Wish I was on the bike…

    Not sure this article adds much to this matter but hysterical self righteous dribble. Took 3 paras to stop talking about the events from the day before. Yes, the chicken man loved cycling but poses an unplanned risk. Yes, the PRO is energised and invested and protective. Violence is never right (despite the headline, the article doesn’t address this). The ASO and UCI have responsibility to act and have.
    We as (responsible?) fans can add this to our collective and individual memories for nrxt time we attend a race. Nuff said. Move on. Sorry to have wasted my time on this article.

    • Lowland Dair

      Froome defended himself. Its a nonsense to say violence is never the answer. It was here, the chicken man won’t be messing rider’s progress again.

    • Ronin

      Yes. The article presents no clear argument whatsoever for or against anything. It reads like a self-indulgent, overwrought emotional release. That’s not uncommon for Rogers. You should read his Tweets.

      Speaking of Tweets. Is not this article a continuation of Twitter bullshit? Who’s Teddy Cutler? Why should we care what he thinks? I mean, there’s no well-stated position that Rogers is replying to here. He’s just emoting about Tweets, and a virtually meaningless, symbolic UCI fine for $204.

      Rogers, check out TwitLonger.

      • BennyBlocksberg

        No one forced you to read it pal. Take your condescending attitude elsewhere.

  • winkybiker

    There was great footage of a spectator tripping a running idiot at the the ToC or ToU a couple of years back.

    • FrankeeD

      Is this the footage you were thinking of?

      • winkybiker

        I think it is. For some reason I thought it was a US race.

  • Andy B

    I guess they felt like they couldn’t condone punching spectators even if they are in the wrong they bring the money to the towns that pay for stage finishes..

    The $200 shows how they view it thiugh

  • MMAster

    One minor correction, Sagan was knocked off by a motorcycle…he was fined for punching the medical car as it arrived at the scene…he did kick his bike though….He probably would have ripped off the head of the motorcycle driver, if he hadn’t got the hell out of dodge

  • ninja

    Between punching fans and descending like a demon Froome’s putting on quite the show this year!

  • Lin

    Spectators must stay out of the way of athletes…should be in bold and posters all over the place! These fans are idiots and have no clue what type of effort these cyclists are having to maintain to climb these mountains. These idiots are a safety hazard for the cyclists AND MUST BE STOPPED. Ticket and heavily fine the stupid spectators that get way too close!! Kudos to Froome for reacting quickly and preventing an accident!

  • Michele

    Personally I reckon they should make all fans stand OFF the road at all times. When the peloton rides past they can simply clap politely and offer nice words of encouragement, and the occasional tip of the hat.

    • Dave

      Maybe the races could be relocated to village cricket ovals across Britain, to incentivise the right sort of spectators with convenient co-location.

  • Nick

    As great as cycling is because of its accessibility to the athletes by the fans… If the fans do not respect the riders space and get within arms reach of them, they deserve what they get.

    It would be a great shame to see fans behind barriers throughout the whole stage but if pelicans like that continue to be a pain in the ass it may be the only way.

  • Spider

    I’d like to know what fine was given to the idiot who took out Sean Yates….his ‘belt’ got stuck in the compression tube or power switch (story keeps changing) that keeps the structure inflated. He could have killed people…he should be barred from wearing a belt for the rest of his life – he obviously needs assistance if he’s turning off switches with it.

    • 900Aero

      Adam Yates, not Sean. If it had been Sean….

      • Spider

        Oops. I’ve just finished Sean’s book and really enjoyed it!

  • Marty Muller

    Wasn’t even a punch, it was on open handed shove.

  • ZigaK

    Wladimir Belli got expelled from 2001 giro for punching a spectator. He was 3rd on the GC at the time and a leader of his team. He was clearly not in the wrong to punch the guy, he said so himself – the guy who got punched. On top of that he was an Italian, but still the jury felt that they have no other option than to dq him. Apparently the rules were clear.

    I guess we’re in different times now.
    Me personally – I think Froome had every right to push the guy out of the way, but punching him was excessive. He would have achieved the same result by simply pushing him away, I’d say that is a standard practice.

    • Sean Doyle

      Have you ever tried to push anyone while riding a bike. Go and try and and come back and tell me how that turned out.

  • markpa

    Don’t want to get pushed by rider, don’t get so close.

  • Sean Doyle

    I’ll just leave this here………

  • Liz Miller

    What worries me even more is that it could have been a terrorist with body explosives who was getting right amongst the peloton. Where is rider security?

    • David Bonnett

      Please don’t hesitate to tell us how you would implement such security on a 200+km stage….

    • Andy B

      There are a lot of Gendarmarie on the roads for important climbs and they do try to keep people back, they simply don’t have the numbers to stop everyone though

  • Mike O’Hanlon

    There seem to be more and more of these idiots along the route. Is it possible that all the publicity given to ‘Didi the Devil’ is encouraging them?

    Also, what this ‘fan’ did was equivalent to invading the pitch in a football match. He would probably go to jail for that!

    • Superpilot

      Nah man, it’s selfie culture. Didi and the old American Moose helmet dude may have started it, but this is all about tv time. Look ma, I’m on TV! In the old vision I have seen there were those still running beside yelling encouragement. But it has gotten worse with modern living.

  • D. Look

    Well said!!!!!!!

  • #Todd Parker

    I also concur wholeheartedly; the spectator entered the course, was out of control – possibly causing riders/contenders to crash, and if anyone should apologize – it’s the spectator first and foremost… Racing on such narrow and challenging roads amongst a peloton requires your entire focus and effort. Once a spectator enters the course, they take the risk of getting injured, injuring others, and potentially changing the dynamics (i.e. stage or overall race leaders’ position and potentially race-ending injuries). Therefore, I have no sympathy for human spectators that enter the course “to get on TV” or a dangerous selfie…etc.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    These idiots should get slapped around by the entire peloton!!! Enjoy the race, but stay the hell out of the way! BRAVO Froome!

  • Ivan Sinigaglia


  • Superpilot

    Although clearly not a punch, Bennett damn near flattened another yesterday. That one stepped out blatantly on a blind corner.

  • Well said Neal! It’s becoming increasingly appalling and dangerous. I remember one Vuelta where there were quite a few security guards along the route, pulling crazy spectators out of the way. But that kind of person power is impossible along every mountain pass, as Neal has pointed out.

  • Sammy

    If the spectators are within reach to be hit, then they’re too close and deserve it! They are entering onto a race course, I bet if they did that during a motor rally, they’d be much worse off then a whack round the head!

  • Sammy

    If the spectators are within reach to be hit, then they’re too close and deserve it! They are entering onto a race course, I bet if they did that during a motor rally, they’d be much worse off then a whack round the head!

  • Gwynn Smith

    The salient point is that spectators show scant respect for the cyclists. The cyclist gets into a zone of effort and focus and it is extremely disrespectful for a spectator to enter that zone and break the focus and momentum. They simply have no idea of what is happening on the road, do not touch the cyclist, do not flick water onto them, so not run alongside them, do not wave things in their faces and stand back off the road. There are meters of footage of spectators causing accidents and problems for the cyclists. I really think there should be spectator education and fines for those who interfere with the cyclists, and, perhaps a motorcycle or two going ahead of the cyclists with loud hailers reminding the spectators about spectator etiquette.

  • Björn Drakenward

    Well delivered, well deserved. Maybe that moroon learned that a stupid head hurts. I’m with Froome on this one.

  • pervertt

    I love contact sports. Anyone else cheering when Bennet removed a road obstacle?

  • Francois

    Definitely a dangerous situation for the riders and I totally understand the annoyance, frustration and rush of adrenaline, but unless self-made justice and unregulated environments become a thing (it’s a choice of civilization, which we may want to make as “the people”, but that we have not so far), he should refrain from punching people. It’s up to the race organizers to not only communicate safety guidelines (which they do) but also track down and prosecute the offenders. There surely is a law about not putting people in danger. Mind you, this goes in cycling as much as it goes in life. Cyclists have a bad enough reputation as drug cheats and bullies, they really don’t need this kind of publicity.
    On a side note, good thing Froome was looking at something else than his computer for once. It helps anticipating incidents like this that are part of the game.

  • Chris

    I think all should be more careful with the usage of the word “punch” as from the picture above, Froome clearly had an open palm with fingers extended.
    Also, unless I’m wrong, fines from the UCI of CHF200 or less are not appealable. So, there is nothing to read into Team Sky or Froome’s lack of appealing.
    There has got to be a standard acceptable protocol for riders to “move disruptive spectators” away from their bikes when they feel unsafe.
    Seems Froome’s open hand “push” or “slap” while an admittedly forceful strike, could be a good start.

  • Rufus Cornpone

    I support Froome or any rider that needs to whack a spectator who is Impeding their progress or endangering the rider. Other spectators should grab the offending fan and jerk them off the road.

  • Pedro Gorosviba

    In all sports, any athlete who kick boxes the spectators is fined or banned for a period because they are expected to behave in a certain way under those pressures. Imagine if the whole peloton start kicking the hell out of those excited fans running along them, that brand, which ASO/UCI tries to protect loses value. That dude in yellow is a customer, though a rowdy one, and is king! Better get him arrested than be the policeman yourself!

  • Alejandro Moreno

    B U L L S H I T
    Froome had the following choices to pick from – do nothing, or yell at the spectator, or give the spectator a shove or a push, or choose the most violent option which was to punch the spectator. Froome chose the most violent option – punching the spectator. Justify it however you want, there were also other ways to go about it, and that is undeniable. Those who defend his actions most likely are fans instead of objective observers, and/or have never taken the time to think about the other options Froome could/should have picked from at that moment. This article lacks an analysis of other options and only debates the merits of the punch in and of itself. Thus, even though the article may be well written, it was overall a lacking analysis of the situation.


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