Tour de France 2015 Fans are mostly there to cheer on the riders and enjoy the carnival atmosphere as the Tour passes through a stage course. A very small but nasty element seems hellbent on victimising Team Sky and mostly Chris Froome. Headset Press thinks this behaviour is unacceptable and disgusting. Lets start with Ritchie Porte getting punched, simply put this is violence. Imagine doing this at Wimbledon? Road racing holds a unique ground when it comes to being a spectator sport and for large parts of the course the riders and spectators are not separated. Whilst one can accept accidents, a notable one being Lance Armstrong (yes the banned cheat) coming a cropper with a spectators bag. Unfortunate but, haplessly innocent.
It’s not the first time a rider has been punched and most famously Eddy Merckx was punched during the 1975 Tour de France. It cost him his lead in the race and he never got it back – unfair. Move forward to 2015, it seems there is some sort of sentiment that Team Sky need punishing like Merckx did, for winning!? Regardless of suspicion or paranoia that they’re cheating no one deserves to be treated in such a violent way. The recent racing has been brilliant to watch, with some incredible work by Team Sky matched by the likes of Quintana and Contador. Nibali less so, he took unfair advantage over Froome on Stage 19 but, it’s still not as bad as throwing piss over him, or spitting in his face. This isn’t that kind of sport. I’ve always enjoyed the more intelligent side of the sport and the dramas involved but it doesn’t make me angry. The aggressive fans are way below par and seem to see the world of cycling in black and white and forgetting the history. I’m sure what they want from it. I can neither think of any excuse to act in such a way to hurt a rider physically or emotionally. Imagine spitting in the face of a stranger in the street, that would bring about serious consequences. So why the hell should the leader of the Tour de France be such a hated target that this should happen. It’s out of all proportion and lacks reality. It’s a sport, a spectator sport to enjoy, not incensed to the point of violent retribution for being the better rider.
Sadly given the history of the sport, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. As I’ve said before, it’s easy to criticise the riders from the comfort of being a fan and to offer your opinion. Not to the point of retribution though, just walk away, find the pure sport you believe exists and leave us fans that enjoy it all alone. For the remainder of the Tour I hope we can see positive action. Let the officials deal with any wrong doing, let the sponsors, teams, decide how to deal with it. Even if they get it spectacularly wrong. None of these nasty fans are here to run cycling but are hell bent on destroying it, yes this might seem like putting the horse before the cart but, when it comes to violent behaviour. Leave the riders alone please.